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In Silico: Jul 1, 2001


Discovery Chain Gang

Sequenom’s strategy for entering the drug discovery arena is markedly different from other mergers. The company stepped further up the discovery chain with its acquisition of Gemini Genomics — and will be able to identify drug targets without big pharma’s help.

Find “Sequenom Moves Upstream Toward Drug Discovery” by searching: Sequenom

Comparing Notes

The public-private workshop was first planned for April. Discussion will be general in nature, rather than the head-to-head comparison of HGP and Celera sequencing methods originally envisioned.

Find “HGP, Celera to Meet June 6 to Compare Sequencing Methods” by searching: HGP

Pricey Proposition

The consortium plans to clone two cDNA fragments for each of 50,000 genes. Harvard’s Institute of Proteomics has estimated it will cost $100 million to sequence 100,000 cDNA clones.

Find “Pharma, Computer Execs Gather to Discuss Supporting Harvard’s cDNA Repository” by searching: Harvard

Teeming with Proteins

MediChem is looking to study protein-protein interactions and to develop new mass spectrometry and NMR capabilities. In particular, CEO Michael Flavin mentioned a potential collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory as a possible segue into other proteomics technologies.

Find “MediChem CEO Looks to Expand Proteomics Effort” by searching: MediChem

Hitched to a Star

Genomics stocks appear to be gaining momentum. Analysts believe there is more to the genomics sector upswing than a hitched ride with the overall market, but market watchers fell short of saying that the frenzy for genomics stocks had been reignited.

Find “Genomics Sector Shows Renewed Vigor, but Will It Last?” by searching: momentum

“I can’t believe it took so long for a pharmaceutical company to buy an informatics company.”

— Gunnar Weikert, Inventage CEO

Find “Why Does Merck Want Rosetta? Motives Still Murky in Wake of Recent Acquisition” by searching: Merck

Freebie? Anyone?

“Why you would want to pay when you can get it free is beyond me.” — Mike Stratton, head of the Cancer Genome Project at the Sanger Center

Find “Survey Finds Only Half of Genome Database Users Aware of Freely Available Resources” by searching: Stratton

New Old Guy on the Block

Microsoft is targeting the bioinformatics and drug discovery computing market. But that market is getting increasingly crowded and the established players are likely to put up a tougher fight than the software leader is accustomed to.

Find “Despite Competition, Microsoft Sees Desktop Presence as Path to Bioinformatics Success” by searching: Microsoft

Specialize, Specialize

A number of smaller companies are foregoing the genome-on-a-chip idea in favor of low-density arrays with selected sets of genes involved in specific metabolic pathways. One thing is clear: the era of specialized chips has begun.

Find "Beltway Boutiques Take an Alternative Pathway to Microarray Success" by searching: Beltway

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.