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In Silico: Aug 1, 2001


Sun Also Rises

Myriad Genetics has chosen Sun Microsystems to provide the computing infrastructure for its protein mapping venture with Hitachi and Oracle. Myriad had recently narrowed the field by eliminating IBM. Both Compaq and Sun offered significantly discounted bids, but Sun’s estimated $3 million price tag dramatically undercut Compaq’s bid.

Find “Myriad Genetics Chooses Sun to Provide Computing Power for Protein Mapping Venture” by searching: Myriad

Attack of the Hap Map

Francis Collins said that a haplotype map could be the next undertaking of NHGRI. Early-stage planning is underway for a public-private collaboration to build a database identifying “blocks” of base pairs containing variants linked to disease. Craig Venter said that Celera would not participate in such a consortium but would soon announce a haplotype project of its own.

Find “Collins and Venter Hint at Haplotype Mapping Initiatives” by searching: haplotype


Hanash 4 Prez

The Human Proteome Organization has elected Sam Hanash, a cancer researcher at the University of Michigan Medical School, as its first president. He plans to establish working groups within HUPO to tackle specific issues such as incorporating the organization and establishing guidelines for future activities.

Find “HUPO Appoints Samir Hanash as First President” by searching: Hanash

Closing Its Doors

Out of cash, Genometrix ceased operations as of June 25. The company is currently seeking additional capital, but CFO David Jorden estimated that the company would need approximately $10 million to remain solvent for about two-and-a-half years.

Find "Genometrix Ceases Operations, Holds onto Hope of Restarting" by searching: Genometrix

Hail to the Academic

In a move many scientists felt has been too late in coming, President Bush announced that he would nominate physicist John Marburger as the next director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Marburger’s strong credentials in both research and education should allay some concerns that Bush has been slighting academic scientists in his appointments.

Find “Bush Nominates Brookhaven Director to Head Office of Science and Technology Policy” by searching: Brookhaven

Free Comes First

“Publicly available software [is] the only way to get your hands on the latest methods, because it takes awhile for even the best commercial vendors to implement new ideas in their software packages.” — Cynthia Gibas

Find “Talking Heads: Cynthia Gibas” by searching: Gibas

Patent Shortage?

While some areas of the biotech landscape are embroiled in perpetual patent litigation, this is not the case in bioinformatics for a very simple reason: a dearth of patents. A recent study found that only 50 software-related patents have been issued by the US PTO since 1996 to companies in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and genomics sectors.

Find “Bioinformatics Patents Remain an Anomalous Rarity in IP-Heavy Biopharmaceutical Industry” by searching: patents


Beyond Full-Serve

“For the last three or four years, we have been a microarray service business. Now we recognize the value of actually making the microarray.”

— Chris Hopkins, microarray senior scientist, Incyte

Find “Incyte Vies for Slice of High-Density Array Pie with New LifeArray Offerings” by searching: Incyte


No PCR, No Problem

Qiagen and Novartis spinoff Zeptosens are making their planar wave guide high-sensitivity microarray platform available through early-access agreements. The technology is a method for selectively detecting molecules bound to the surface of the microarray without the use of PCR.

Find “Aventis Pharma and Qiagen Sign Early Access Deal for Planar Wave Guide Microarray Platform” by searching: Qiagen

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.