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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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
“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