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Short Reads/Markers: Jun 1, 2003

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated $70 million for genomics research to the University of Washington. Most of the money — $60 million — is earmarked for construction of the new department of genome sciences, and the remainder will be used for global health programs related to genomics.

 

Paris-based functional proteomics firm Hybrigenics announced its acquisition of Semaia, a Dutch company focused on drug targets for oncology. No price tag was disclosed for the all-stock transaction.

 

Craig Venter continued to rake in funding for his new foundations recently. DOE announced that it will fund his Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives with $3 million annually for three years, on top of the $1 million per year the institute already receives from the agency.

 

Galapagos Genomics and Inpharmatica teamed up in a drug discovery collaboration. The companies will use gene expression and chemogenomics technologies to study the viability of targets selected by Galapagos.

 

Scientists from NHGRI and the University of Michigan joined forces with Elixir Pharmaceuticals to study the relationship between the Lamin A gene and the aging process.

Genome Quebec has formed a $4 million consortium aimed at university research in Quebec to help develop the life sciences sector. One of the consortium’s earliest projects, directed by McGill University’s Robert Nadon and the University of Montreal’s Herve Philippe, will be addressing issues of training bioinformatics specialists.

 

Based on results from the Icelandic Cancer Project, a joint effort including Iceland Genomics, the Icelandic Cancer Clinicians Group, and the Icelandic Cancer Society, Iceland Genomics said it has identified five loci in the genome associated with an increased risk of cancer.

 

Agilent Technologies and North Carolina State University kicked off a collaboration to study rice blast disease by using sequence data from the university’s Fungal Genomics Laboratory to design a new 60-mer oligo microarray.

 

From bad to worse for the genomics world:

GeneProt, stuck without the pharma deals it had counted on, announced it would lay off nearly half of its 95 employees and is still looking to cut costs further.

Nanogen also announced that it would sack about 20 percent of its staff, reducing the ranks to 156.

And Deltagen shut down nine facilities and shrank by some 50 employees, bringing the company to about 150 people.

Last month, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute was slated to break ground on Janelia Farm, its new research campus based on the Potomac River in Virginia.

 

PerkinElmer entered an alliance with the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center and the Buck Institute for Age Research to study the proteomics of Alzheimer’s.

 

NimbleGen Systems rounded out a late-stage financing round with $12.5 million. That makes a total of $32.5 million that the company, which makes custom microarrays, has gathered since it launched in 2000.

 

The Joint Genome Institute struck a deal with Diversa for a large-scale microbial sequencing project. JGI will use its sequencing capacity on genes from Diversa’s library of more than 3 million organisms’ complete genomes.

 

Last month the University of Minnesota opened its $20 million, 64,000-square-foot Cargill Building for Microbial and Plant Genomics, which will house more than 15 groups of scientists working on various projects.

 

Althea Technologies won a $100,000 SBIR grant through NCI to develop a new, high-throughput approach to gene expression analysis for cancer.

 

Ambion rounded up $10 million in private financing to grow its RNA research business.

 

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.