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In Silico: Mar 1, 2003

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Risky Business

Despite fears that bioterrorists will use DNA sequence data to create 21st century superpathogens, genomic science should remain public, Claire Fraser said. Her explanation: genomics just isn’t good enough yet to provide the kind of tools terrorists need.


Find “Should Bioterror Fear Make Sequences Secret? For TIGR’s Fraser It’s a Qualified No” by searching: bioterror


Funereal Finances

If things were tough for biotech, they may have been even tougher for genomics companies in particular. Those that did show up at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference distanced themselves from their roots. But there may be at least two silver linings.


Find “Men in Banker’s Black Try to Shake ’02 Gloom” by searching: pall Weekly


Building Character

They say what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, and bioinformatics companies who survived the harsh shakeout of the past year are certainly hoping there’s some truth in Nietzsche’s famous words.


Find “For Bioinformatics Companies, 2002 Was the Year of ‘Change or Die’: What’s Next?” by searching: shakeout Weekly


Zero Gravity Would Help Here

“In our experience the paperwork weighs more than the payload, by a great margin. On our last mission, the paperwork weighed more than 400 pounds, compared to 70 pounds for the payload.”

— Paul Todd, chief scientist for Space Hardware Optimization Technology of Greenville, Ind., on performing genomics experiments aboard space shuttles


Find “Extreme Microarray: SHOT’s Paul Todd Launches Chips in Space” by searching: SHOT Weekly


Don’t Reach Too Far

The jackpot may not be as big as with reach-through agreements, but a straight service business model may offer smaller proteomics companies an attractive, no-strings-attached route to success in the sector. “Everybody wants reach-through, everybody wants economic participation,” said Stephen Turner, Protea’s president. “I think there is a tendency in the biotech industry to push for that too early in the history of the company.”


Find “Forget Reach-Through Rights: Eurogentec, Protea Pursue Pure Proteomics Service Models” by searching: Protea Weekly


Bridge the Gap?

The growth of pharmacogenomics research at Pfizer may hinge on its interest in Pharmacia’s modest diagnostics business. People close to Pharmacia say the smaller company “wants to build a bridge” with Pfizer to preserve the diagnostics unit, but the way things look now, Pfizer may want to break up the business.


Find “Fate of Pharmacia’s Diagnostics Division May Affect Future of Pharmacogenomics at Pfizer” by searching: Pfizer

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.