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Short Reads: Dec 1, 2001

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Here a NIST grant, there a NIST grant. SurroMed and Applied Biosystems landed a juicy one worth $8 million over three years to develop SurroMed’s nanotechnology and ABI’s multiplexed DNA analysis technologies.

 

Human Genome Sciences broke ground in Rockville, Md., for a new drug-production facility, scheduled to be built by 2003.

 

Talk about keeping it in the family. GeneFormatics, seeking to develop its experimental structural proteomics platform, entered into a collaboration with Bruker, Bruker, and Bruker — that is, Bruker AXS for x-ray crystallography, Bruker BioSpin for NMR spectroscopy, and Bruker Daltonics for MALDI-TOF mass spec.

 

Illinois-based Eichrom Technologies spun off Eprogen, which will commercialize an all-liquid phase LC proteomics technology designed to improve 2D mapping and characterization of proteins.

 

The Chinese Academy of Sciences announced that scientists have finished sequencing the hybrid rice genome, covering more than 95 percent of rice genes.

Ciphergen and Pfizer have teamed up to study rat proteins and find the biomarkers within. Meanwhile, Hybrigen and Bionomics paired up to research breast cancer with a discovery alliance.

A draft of the Japanese pufferfish Fugu rubripes has been completed. The consortium was headed up by the US Joint Genome Institute and the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, part of Singapore’s Biomedical Research Council.

 

The Sanger Centre received more than $430 million for the next five years from the Wellcome Trust to throw itself into post-genomic research. Sanger will change its name to the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

 

Aspira Biosystems won a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the NIH to fund its development of sequence-specific protein chips.

 

The French invasion: Protein and functional genomics company Nautilus Biotech, based in Paris, opened a branch in San Diego. Meantime, bioinformatics firm Gene-IT, also from Paris, started an office in Los Altos, Calif.

 

What makes a Quebecker? With $16.5 million in equity funding, Galileo Genomics hopes to search for genes associated with common diseases across 50,000 people in Quebec. The study relies on data from the founder population, roughly 2,600 people who settled there between 1608 and 1760.

 

Agilent Technologies and Paradigm Genetics formed a collaboration to commercialize the first whole-genome Arabidopsis thaliana microarray.

The US Army awarded Nanogen a three-year, $1.5 million grant to aid in the development of the company’s miniature devices for isolating and detecting biowarfare and infectious disease agents in human blood samples. Research will be supervised by the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

 

Gambling on genomics: Sequitur announced a multi-year agreement with Procter and Gamble Pharmaceuticals to provide the pharma giant access to its functional genomics technology, mainly screening and antisense compounds for target validation.

 

Amersham’s also doing some renaming. Amersham Pharmacia Biotech becomes Amersham Biosciences, and Nycomed Amersham morphs into Amersham Health. The units have a new logo and will trade under the new ticker symbol AHM in London, New York, and Oslo.

 

Lion Bioscience and Odense, Denmark’s ACE BioSciences announced a proteomics interaction collaboration.

 

In the “what will they think of next” category: extreme underwater sequencing! Well, not quite. But we at GT were entertained to see that sequencing at sea is the newest thing — scientists from the University of Delaware and Amersham Biosciences carried out pioneer experiments in DNA sequencing of extremophiles aboard the research vessel Atlantis.