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University of Illinois, Bruker BioSpin, Affymetrix, Stratagene, ExonHit, Applied Biosystems, Geospiza, NHLBI, Beckman Coulter, NCRR, University of Cambridge, MDS Pharma Services, Gov. Christine Gregoire

First Actively Shielded 900 MHz NMR Magnet Installed

The University of Illinois at Chicago has successfully installed the first actively shielded 900 MHz NMR magnet. The new instrument, from Bruker BioSpin, is currently being used in the department of biochemistry and molecular genetics for research on high molecular weight proteins.

Stratagene to Develop Software for Affymetrix Microarrays

Affymetrix will use Stratagene software for GeneChip data analysis, the companies said this week.

As part of a non-exclusive license, Stratagene will develop a new software package, called ArrayAssist Lite, which will be offered as a standard statistical analysis tool for Affymetrix arrays.

Affymetrix said ArrayAssist Lite will be made available to its existing GeneChip customers via the Internet beginning in April. The software will also be pre-installed on new GeneChip workstation desktops.

Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

ExonHit and Agilent Launch SpliceArray Service

ExonHit of Paris and Agilent Technologies last week launched the SpliceArray Service based on new G-protein coupled receptor and ion channel microarray technology being commercialized by Agilent ,and ExonHit’s splice-variant content to detect alternative splicing in potential drug targets.

Applied Biosystems and Geospiza Collaborate on LIMS for DNA Sequencing

Applied Biosystems and Geospiza are collaborating to develop and market a laboratory information management system for sequencing laboratories, the companies said today.

Under the agreement, the two partners will integrate ABI’s LS*LIMS software with Geospiza’s Finch Suite to improve workflows for DNA sequencing data.

ABI will also become a worldwide reseller of Geospiza’s Finch System software.

SeqWright, a DNA technologies service provider, is already using the integrated platform as an early access customer.

NHLBI Seeks Input on Systems Biology Approaches to Disease

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has issued a request for information seeking “comments and ideas on the development and application of systems biology approaches to heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders.”

The NHLBI said it is looking for help in identifying major opportunities to develop and apply systems biology approaches to heart, lung, blood, and sleep research and medicine; in gauging the interest and readiness of the heart, lung, blood, and sleep research community to engage in systems biology research; pinpointing the needs for developing and supporting systems biology research in the heart, lung, blood, and sleep research community and barriers that may inhibit it; and finding practical and effective ways to meet these needs and overcome these barriers.

“This request for information is for planning purposes only and shall not be construed as a solicitation for applications or as an obligation on the part of the government,” the NHLBI said. “The government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or the government’s use of that information.”

Beckman Coulter Renegotiates Revolving Credit Agreement

Beckman Coulter has extended by four years a $300 million revolving line of credit with Citicorp and Bank of America, the company said in an SEC filing. The agreement, entered into on July 2002 and set to expire in July 2005, will now terminate on Jan. 31, 2010. The agreement provides Beckman with a $300 million revolving line of credit, which may be increased in $50 million increments up to a maximum line of credit of $500 million. The proceeds are limited solely for domestic working capital and limits the company and its subsidiaries from entering into certain types of mergers or consolidations.

NCRR Earmarks $1 Million to Develop New Biomedical Tool, Techniques

The National Institutes of Health has issued a request for applications for projects focused on the development of new instruments or devices, methodologies, or software with biomedical applications.

The projects, said the NIH, “should propose tools, methodologies, or software that can be used by a wide range of biomedical or clinical researchers.” Examples of projects that might be funded under the RFA include ones involving the development of optical spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, electrophoresis, and other separation techniques; microscopy, lasers and optics, X-ray tools, and techniques; and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, bioreactors and other forms of cell culture.

The NIH said that the National Center for Research Resources plans to commit about $1 million for research projects under the RFA. This amount is expected to fund between five and eight grants.

Applications for funding are due by June 22 and Oct. 19. The RFA expires on Oct. 20.

Consortium Wins $11.7M EC Grant To Uncover Biomarkers for MI

The European Commission’s Sixth Research Framework Program has provided a four-year, €9 million ($11.7 million) grant to a research consortium that hopes to discover genetic markers associated with a risk of myocardial infarction and clot formation, according to the University of Cambridge.

The 14 members of the consortium, called “Bloodomics,” have set up the European Cardiovascular Genetics Foundation to manage the project, according to the school. Bloodomics will include researchers from the University of Cambridge in the UK; Domantis, a UK-based antibody company; Trium Analysis Online, a German informatics company; and the national blood services of the UK and The Netherlands. At least 180 investigators will work as part of Bloodomics.

Research will focus initially on the genes and proteins controlling platelets, with the eventual goal of producing new drugs for the prevention and treatment of heart disease.

MDS Pharma Services First to Acquire ABI’s New API 5000 Mass Spectrometers

MDS Pharma Services last week said that it is acquiring two of ABI’s recently launched API 500 mass spectrometry instruments. The units will be installed at the company’s site in Lincoln, Neb., Montreal-based MDS said.

MDS Pharma is a unit of MDS and sister company of MDS Sciex, which partners with ABI to develop mass spectrometry instrumentation.

Washington Governor Proposes Life Sciences Discovery Fund

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire last week offered a proposal to create a life sciences discovery fund as a first step in stimulating the growth of the state’s bioscience industries. The governor proposed using $35 million per year for 10 years from strategic tobacco settlement funds as seed capital contingent on attracting at least $10 million in private capital by 2008 and the establishment of a board of trustees to review applications for grants based on their potential impact.

The Scan

Genes Linked to White-Tailed Jackrabbits' Winter Coat Color Change

Climate change, the researchers noted in Science, may lead to camouflage mismatch and increase predation of white-tailed jackrabbits.

Adenine Base Editor Targets SCID Mutation in New Study

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, report in Cell that adenine base editing was able to produce functional T lymphocytes in a model of severe combined immune deficiency.

Researchers Find Gene Affecting Alkaline Sensitivity in Plants

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science have found a locus affecting alkaline-salinity sensitivity, which could aid in efforts to improve crop productivity, as they report in Science.

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.