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In Silico: Apr 1, 2003

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Now, Brown Cow?

The cow genome has moved one step closer to the barn door, but there’s no sequencing stampede as yet. The National Human Genome Research Institute announced that it would support bovine sequencing efforts led by Baylor College of Medicine and Texas A&M University with half of the $50 million needed. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has thrown his cowboy hat into the fundraising ring with a pledge of $10 million in state funding over the next three years.

Find “Cow Genome Moo-ves Forward: $15M Still Needed” by searching: bovine


No More Tool Time

Though R&D budgets at big pharma are expected to continue expanding into 2004 and beyond, don’t expect these companies to invest in new genomic tools or services any time soon, according to a recent panel discussion. “There’s nothing on the horizon” worth buying, said Margaret Flanagan, global alliance director at AstraZeneca.

Find “Despite R&D Spending Growth at Pharma, Tool Shops Will Be Left in the Cold” by searching: Flanagan Weekly

Unexpected Dividend

“I can’t overemphasize this: I never came out here to make a million dollars. This wasn’t meant to be a money-making thing.”

— Divyen Patel, CEO and founder of Genome Explorations, an Affymetrix microarray-analysis startup that has, in less than a year, earned $1 million

Find “Divyen Patel: No Bootstrapping Blues for Memphis Microarrays” by searching: Divyen Weekly

Beowulf Beware

Three years ago, Incyte began installing a Linux cluster to do most of its bioinformatics work. Now the compute farm is bumping up against a number of limitations. While loath to walk away from the favorable price/performance of the Beowulf, Incyte is being driven by space and networking issues to consider other options for the next phase of its computational infrastructure. So far, Blast benchmarks of a 1-GHz Altix prototype indicated a seven-fold speedup over 2.2 GHz Xeon processors in the cluster.

Find “Pushing the Upper Limits of Compute Farm Acreage, Incyte Rethinks Its 3,000-CPU Cluster” by searching: acreage Weekly

Match Made in Heaven?

The merger between Oxford GlycoSciences and Cambridge Antibody Technology seemed like a done deal. But doubts have risen as to whether CAT is paying a high enough dowry for its bride, and rumors linger that rivals are preparing to speak up. CAT has valued OGS’s share capital at approximately £109.6 million, a premium of almost 30 percent over its stock price — which is still 20 percent less than OGS’s cash balance of £136.4 million at year end.

Find “CAT’s Rival Suitors Might Throw Its Merger with OGS into Question” by searching: suitors Weekly

Fork in the Road

Like the bioinformatics sector before it, the SNP-genotyping space, which is said to be worth between $200 million and $300 million, has reached a widely anticipated crossroads. Yet where bioinformatics’ big question was, ‘Is there a commercial market for my software and services?’ genotyping firms have begun asking, ‘How low can my prices go, and how long can my top line — not to mention my shareholders — endure it?’

Find “As SNPs Become a Commodity, Pure Plays Renew Their Vows to Diversify” by searching: vows


The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.