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Affymetrix, Stratagene, NuGen Technologies, MediBic, NIH, Karolinska Institutet, Clondiag, CyBIO, Molecular Probes, ABI, Geospiza

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Stratagene to Develop Software for Affymetrix Microarrays

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

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


NuGen Signs Marketing Deals with Asian, European Partners; Opens European Sales Office

NuGen Technologies has signed agreements with MediBic of Japan and TouchDown Biomarketing in Europe to help it market and sell its RNA-amplification products in Asia and Europe, respectively, the company said last week.

San Carlos, Calif.-based NuGen also said it has opened a sales office in Europe, which will be managed by TouchDown. NuGen’s European sales team will work with TouchDown to launch the company’s RNA-amplification systems in the European market.

MediBic, a Japanese life sciences and pharmacogenomics consulting company, will help NuGen introduce its Ovation RNA-amplification products throughout Asia.

TouchDown is based in Gendt, The Netherlands, and MediBic is located in Tokyo.


Seeking to Avoid ‘Past Abuses,’ NIH Ethics Policy Now Prohibits All Staffers from Working for Industry

The National Institutes of Health have created a new ethics regulation that will prohibit NIH employees from working with pharmaceutical and biological companies, and research institutions, including NIH grantees.

A previous regulation only prohibited such relationships to upper-level employees. The ban has now been extended to all NIH staff.

Investments in companies that are significantly affected by the organization will also now be prohibited for employees that file financial disclosure forms, and will be restricted for other staff, under the new regulations. Non-filers’ stock holdings in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies will now be capped at $15,000.

According to a statement from the NIH, the new ethics rules were published in the Federal Register on Feb. 3 and will remain in effect indefinitely. Still, they will be subject to revision by the US Department of Health and Human Services, which is soliciting public comment on the new regulation during a 60-day period since its publication in the Register.

The NIH specifically stated that the new regulations were a direct result of the activities of some employees who had been engaged in outside consulting with biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Reports in the media last year, such as those chronicled in ProteoMonitor, a GenomeWeb News publication, that showed NIH employees receiving money from the very firms they are in a position to benefit led to congressional hearings, as well as the recent tightening of the ethics rules.

NIH Director Elias Zerhouni said in a statement that it was “ unfortunate that the activities of a few employees have tainted the stellar reputation of the many thousands of NIH scientists who have never compromised their integrity” and that the revised ethics regulations would “prevent the recurrence of past abuses and will go along way in preserving the historic role of NIH as the primary source of unbiased scientific health information for the country.”


Affymetrix to Provide Karolinska Institutet with Technology for Disease Studies

The Karolinska Institutet of Sweden has teamed up with Affymetrix to study gene expression and DNA sequence variation in patients with a number of diseases, the two partners said yesterday.

The agreement is part of Affy’s translational medicine initiative. Karolinska Institutet, based in Stockholm, will have early access to new microarray technologies from Affymetrix, including the company’s Mapping 100K array for high-density genome scans, and will be able to perform studies “at an acceptable cost,” according to Jan Carlstedt-Duke, Karolinska’s dean of research. Further financial details of the alliance were not provided.

Over the next five years, Karolinska researchers plan to study gene expression and genetic variation in patients with atherosclerosis, breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and dyslexia.


Clondiag, CyBIO Sign 2-Year Agreement

Clondiag, a Jena, Germany-based bioarray technology firm, has signed a long-term outline agreement with CyBio, a life sciences company also based in Jena, to produce automatic pipetting and analyzing instruments for use in lab diagnostics, the companies announced last week.

Aided by CyBio’s resources, Clondiag will introduce its Clondiag ArrayStripProcessor, a package of 20 devices which it claims will eliminate user intervention in the pipetting, incubation, washing, selection, visualization, and data-management processes. The product will be used for biochips with a 96-well microplate format.

The first run of the new ASP package will be available in the second quarter of this year, according to Matthias Voigt, project manager for CyBio,

Voigt told BioArray News that his company has signed onto a 2-year agreement with Clondiag and has promised to deliver 100 devices in that period for a fixed price. Voigt said Clondiag would market the new products to its customers in the biotechnology field. Financial terms of the agreement were undisclosed.

Clondiag said in a statement that it aims to market the fully automated ASP to compliment the use of its biochip technology in molecular and immunological diagnostics, as well as genomic serologic analytics.


Oregon Allocates $1.45 million for Molecular Probes

The state of Oregon will be giving Molecular Probes, a subsidiary of Invitrogen that produces florescent dyes used in biomedical research, a $1.45 million subsidy package to aid in the expansion of its company headquarters in Eugene, Oregon.

Molecular Probes plans a $15-million overhaul of its facilities and to add 65 new jobs. The company presently has 250 employees and is the largest biotech employer in the state.

Carlsbad, Calif.-based Invitrogen purchased Molecular Probes in 2003 for $325 million.

The life sciences firm is planning an upgrade for its facility in upstate New York and has been offered a similar incentive package from that state.


ABI, 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 this week.

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.

“We believe that this collaboration will benefit the scientific community by streamlining lab productivity and increasing the ability to consistently and cost-effectively produce, analyze, and deliver meaningful scientific results,” said Michael Schneider, division president, service and system solutions division for Applied Biosystem.

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

 

The Scan

And For Adolescents

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15 years old.

Also of Concern to WHO

The Wall Street Journal reports that the World Health Organization has classified the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.617 as a "variant of concern."

Test for Them All

The New York Times reports on the development of combined tests for SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses like influenza.

PNAS Papers on Oral Microbiome Evolution, Snake Toxins, Transcription Factor Binding

In PNAS this week: evolution of oral microbiomes among hominids, comparative genomic analysis of snake toxins, and more.