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Strange But True Genomics News

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In terms of breaking news in the genomics industry, the fourth quarter is shaping up to be the most interesting of 2001. Alliances and initiatives unveiled in recent weeks have contained more than a few surprises.

Printers’ lead times being what they are — this December issue went to press November 9 — it would be impossible for the magazine’s reporting staff to keep you current. But that’s what our daily and weekly news teams are all about, and the news these days is keeping them hopping. (Truth be told, they live for times like this.)

Consider a few of the stranger twists they have covered of late:

GenomeWeb.com: Lion, IBM May Soon Announce Partnership. While many in the industry will criticize IBM’s arrogance or its DiscoveryLink bioinformatics product behind the company’s back, Lion’s CEO, Friedrich von Bohlen, has been one of few who would go on the record. (He even suggested once that we not bother troubling him to spout off about IBM if we weren’t going to quote him.) Back in April, Caroline Kovac, vice president of IBM’s life sciences unit, said that rather than competing with information management companies such as Lion, she would seek partnerships with them. Last we talked to him, von Bohlen was perishing the thought. Looks like Big Blue is trying to force Lion to swallow its pride.

BioArray News: Affy Leverages Hyseq Settlement into Joint Array Venture, N-Mer. Clever litigating makes for strange bedfellows. After four years of legal wrangling prevented Hyseq from commercializing its sequencing-by-hybridization technology, a settlement with Affymetrix finally will permit it to plow ahead — with Affy as its partner in a joint venture. As BioArray News editor Marian Jones points out, “For cash-strapped Hyseq, a cash settlement would have been a nice shot in the arm … Instead, Hyseq spun out of the Affymetrix litigation with a new venture in its weary arms, which it is required to fund using the settlement proceeds.”

BioInform: Incyte Lays off 400 and Shutters Facilities As it Reverts to Original Database Model. Customers were left hanging when Incyte suddenly announced that it would halt its activities in custom sequencing, microarrays, public-domain clones, transgenics, and SNP discovery. The news became the talk of GSAC, with many speculating that Incyte was now ripe for a takeover. BioInform editor Bernadette Toner reported: “In a time when most database vendors in the industry are moving away from their data-provider models and adopting a larger discovery role … Incyte Genomics’ recent refocus on its information business is most likely an interim strategy until the company firms up its plans to tackle discovery.”

We’re often told that GenomeWeb.com feeds are a staple of the genomics dealmaker’s daily diet. For the real industry news junkies, a new feature on GenomeWeb.com will let you see just how much coverage you’re still missing if you’re not a BioArray News, BioInform, or ProteoMonitor subscriber. Two of the reports mentioned above would be in that category.

We’ve also, at long last, retooled the magazine’s own web site. While GenomeWeb.com is still the place to go for your daily news fix, Genome-Technology.com is where you’ll find the GT customer and reader-service info. And it’s where you can go to link to our e-mail addresses if you’re inclined to return the favor and fill us in on the news we’re missing.

Adrienne J. Burke, Editor in Chief

 

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