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Short Reads: Sep 1, 2001 (rev. 1)


Extra, extra! Led by the Public Library of Science Initiative, more than 25,000 scientists have pledged their support for the boycott of many scientific journals. PLSI plans to begin putting out its own journals this month, providing an alternative outlet to publications that refuse to deposit their articles in a free online environment. At press time, only Genome Research and PubMedCentral had agreed to scientists’ demands that all articles be made freely accessible.


Nonprofit corporation Genome Canada will invest up to C$165 million to fund a second wave of genomics experiments. Researchers across Canada will compete for the funding for projects on ethical, environmental, legal, and societal issues related to genomics.


Eye on alliances: Inpharmatica signed a two-year deal potentially worth $20 million with Geneva-based Serono to find novel protein targets. DeCode and Roche allied in a five-year program to develop and market DNA-based diagnostics for major diseases. Exelixis and Bristol-Myers Squibb penned a $200 million deal to work on cancer-related target validation. DNAPrint expands its work by partnering with Malaysian pharmacogenomics company DNAPro and establishing subsidiary DNAPrint Genomics, which aims to design personalized medicine products for Southeast Asian populations. GeneTrove, the functional genomics division of Isis Pharmaceuticals, will work with Celera Genomics to find functions of 200 novel genes. Genomic Solutions collaborates with NuTec Sciences to design and market a new software product.


The Ontario Centre for Genomic Computing will expand over the next three years, thanks to a $25 million deal with SGI financed by The Hospital for Sick Children and the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund.


Moving toward one giant genomics company: Deltagen agreed to acquire functional proteomics company Arcaris for roughly $7.7 million; Lexicon Genetics acquired chemistry-oriented Coelecanth for $32 million; Cellomics is set to buy Momentum Healthcare, which works with drug discovery software; and Genomic Solutions of Ann Arbor, Mich., was in talks to acquire New York firm ProteoMetrics.


The National Institute for Standards and Technology awarded bioinformatics company Incogen a grant worth $2 million to work on XML and web services technology for better access to different genomics tools.


Sun’s trying to keep its name out there. The company recently launched CB-SIG, its special interest group for computational biology. Most recently, it named the Delaware Bioinformatics Institute and the Beijing Genomics Institute as Sun Centers of Excellence.


Lincoln Stein may need to clone himself if he doesn''t want to play favorites to dueling computer vendors. The Cold Spring Harbor bioinformaticist is slated to speak on a proteomics panel at a meeting hosted by Compaq and the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge this month. But, according to Sun''s agenda for a simultaneous meeting on post-genomic computing challenges, Stein will be speaking in Durham, NC, that day. Seems he could use Tony White''s jet privileges.


A desktop DNA accelerator? That’s what Compaq and Time Logic say they’ll demo at GSAC this year — a people’s version of Time Logic’s DeCypher, My DeCypher, available at a fraction of the cost and running on Compaq’s DeskPro Workstation 300.


Here at GT, we’re regularly entertained by new and creative company names. The latest contender in the ongoing “-omics” battle is Nanogen and Aventis Research & Technology’s Frankfurt-based lovechild, Nanogen Recognomics. Meanwhile, suspicion abounds over new Gene Logic spinoff MetriGenix, which was announced on the heels of Genometrix’s closing. Genometrix, MetriGenix — coincidence?


The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.