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Short Reads: Apr 1, 2004 (rev. 1)


Fisher Scientific International lays out $80 million in cash to snatch up RNAi provider Dharmacon. The acquisition was slated to close by the end of the first quarter.


RNA interference firm Alnylam Pharmaceuticals announces its plan to have an IPO. At presstime, the number of shares and starting price per share were not set.


Researchers at Craig Venter’s Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives publish results of shotgun sequencing of samples taken from the Sargasso Sea. IBEA says the project uncovered at least 1,800 new species and more than 1.2 million novel genes.


San Diego-based Nanogen agrees to acquire diagnostics firm Syn X Pharma in a transaction valued at CA$16.3 million. Nanogen expects to continue Syn X’s Toronto operations as a new business unit.


The first draft of the chicken’s genome sequence is now accessible in public databases, announces NHGRI. Sequencing was performed by Washington University and represents the first avian to be analyzed this way.


Agilent Technologies forms a new unit under its life sciences and chemical analysis group. The unit, integrated biology solutions, will house the company’s gene expression, proteomics, and reagents businesses.

Solexa joins in a grant to collaborate with the European Bioinformatics Institute, Imperial College London, and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Solexa’s contribution to the grant, which alone is worth more than £700,000, will bring the total to £1.53 million for a project designed to develop new bioinformatics tools for comparing whole-genome data.


Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, based in Salt Lake City, makes publicly available the first part of the Y-chromosome database it’s building. Users will take a DNA test and then see how it compared to the DNA samples in the database in a search for likely paternal ancestors.


Cira Discovery Sciences teams up with The Wistar Institute to design new approaches to proteomics-based diagnostic tests for cancer and lung disease.


Biomedical informatics firm ProSanos receives $500,000 from the Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central Pennsylvania. Another grant last year helped the La Jolla firm set up its Harrisburg, Pa.-based product development office.


Zyomyx raises $10 million in a private round of VC funding. CSFB Private Equity led the round, and previous investors including Alloy Ventures, Lilly BioVentures, and Hambrecht & Quist Capital Management, among others, also contributed.


Affymetrix completes the smallpox array, built on the Affy chip platform in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The arrays include sequence common to all smallpox strains as well as variant sequences from isolates and, according to the company, allows for the resequencing of the organism’s entire genome.


Lilly joins forces with academic, industry, and government organizations in Indiana to establish a center of excellence for protein sciences, which will be known as the Indiana Centers for Applied Protein Sciences. Lilly’s contribution weighs in at $3.2 million, and the 21st Century Research and Technology Fund Board has approved a $2 million grant to support the center as well.


The Department of Defense awards CombiMatrix a two-year, $5.9 million contract to develop microarray technology for the detection of biological weapons such as anthrax and Y. pestis.


An Italian unit of Aventis, in conjunction with MWG Biotech, announces the completed genome sequence of Saccharopolyspora erythraea, which produces an excess of erythromycin antibiotic.


They must like each other: Genaera and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research agree to extend their collaboration to develop genes and proteins as drug targets and therapeutics by two years.


The Scan

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.

Machine Learning Improves Diagnostic Accuracy of Breast Cancer MRI, Study Shows

Combining machine learning with radiologists' interpretations further increased the diagnostic accuracy of MRIs for breast cancer, a Science Translational Medicine paper finds.

Genome Damage in Neurons Triggers Alzheimer's-Linked Inflammation

Neurons harboring increased DNA double-strand breaks activate microglia to lead to neuroinflammation like that seen in Alzheimer's disease, a new Science Advances study finds.

Long COVID-19 Susceptibility Clues Contained in Blood Plasma Proteome

A longitudinal study in eBioMedicine found weeks-long blood plasma proteome shifts after SARS-CoV-2 infection, along with proteomic signatures that appeared to coincide with long Covid risk.