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Short Reads: May 1, 2001

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Affymetrix may have some image treatment ahead. After acknowl-edging that its U74 mouse arrays were flawed, it went through even more trouble when it mistakenly accused NCBI of a database error. The UniGene database actually caused the error, and Affy and NCBI have since patched up their relationship. It remains to be seen whether the public will be as forgiving.

 

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute received the largest donation ever given to a US university from an anonymous donor. The school plans to use the $360 million to establish a presence in biotech and information technology; faculty recruitments are underway, as are plans for a new Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Center on the Troy, NY, campus.

 

Sun Microsystems lost face late last year when it lost out to Compaq for an important supercomputer contract with the Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing. Perhaps that’s why Sun has established a new program giving the Sun Centers of Excellence crown to public-sector organizations that incubate the company’s technology for computational biology. So far, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, and the Beijing Genome Institute have been honored.

 

Invitrogen succeeded in getting rights to distribute gene clones from TIGR’s libraries of about 300,000 EST cDNA, microbial, and parasitic genomic clones, as well as any clones developed by TIGR in the future. This brings Invitrogen’s trove to more than 7 million human and non-human gene clones, says CEO Lyle Turner.

 

New digs:

Leroy Hood’s Institute for Systems Biology expects to move to a new facility almost twice the size of its original building this fall. The 56,000-square-foot building on Lake Union, Seattle, will house the growing staff of more than 150. Perhaps in keeping with Hood’s whole-system approach, the new facility will have fewer walls to keep scientists apart, and space will be shared by scientists of different disciplines.

MDS Proteomics is bursting its seams all over the world. It recently expanded its Toronto headquarters and opened a new facility in Odense, Denmark, with the 11th-largest Linux cluster in the world. Other pieds-à-terre are in the works for Boston and Charlottesville, NC.

Ciphergen Biosystems just opened a discovery branch in Philadelphia to be closer to the pharma belt, according to business development vice president Bob Maurer. Another center is in the works in Copenhagen, and Maurer adds, "I expect we will put one in Japan at some point."

Next up, tuberculosis. Qiagen Genomics, TIGR, and the Montefiore Medical Center have teamed up in a research and license agreement for an association study of SNPs in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which causes more than three million deaths each year.

Make me a deal … and a deal, and a deal. Lynx Therapeutics has been all over the place lately, with recently announced partners including AstraZeneca, Celera, and UroGene.

Speeding bullet: Compaq announced that its four-processor AlphaServer became the first UNIX server to break the $20-per-transaction cost barrier and set a new record with 37,274 transactions per minute.

Physiome Sciences, which develops tools to simulate life processes, recently completed a major private financing round, coming out with $50 million led by Investor AB of Sweden.

Colorado MEDtech has agreed to manufacture Xanthon’s high-throughput gene expression analysis instrument. Xanthon expects to introduce the system at first to the drug discovery market.

University members of the Georgia Research Alliance will now have access to AP Biotech’s integrated proteomics technologies thanks to a partnership between the two groups. Researchers expect to isolate, analyze, and identify proteins implicated in disease or growth of animals, plants, and microbes.

Let’s be pfriends. NeoGene Technologies, a functional genomics company specializing in G-protein-coupled receptors, entered into a Drug Pfinder Agreement with Pfizer, earning itself an initial payment and milestone payments for potential products based on a NeoGene orphan receptor.

We always knew Shakespeare was a visionary. We just never expected his vision to extend into science. The Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Novosibirsk, Russia, is mapping the Sorex araneus genome — or, as we like to say, they’re taming the shrew.

 

The Scan

WHO Seeks Booster Pause

According to CNN, the World Health Organization is calling for a moratorium on administering SARS-CoV-2 vaccine boosters until more of the world has received initial doses.

For Those Long Legs

With its genome sequence and subsequent RNAi analyses, researchers have examined the genes that give long legs to daddy longlegs, New Scientist says.

September Plans

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration is aiming for early September for full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on Targeting DNA Damage Response, TSMiner, VarSAn

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: genetic changes affecting DNA damage response inhibitor response, "time-series miner" approach, and more.