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Andhra Pradesh Industrial Development Corp., US Department of Agriculture, Capital Genomix, Epoch Biosciences, University of Leipzig, Breast Care Center


India Biotech Fund Launched

The Andhra Pradesh Industrial Development Corp., a non-profit government organization, and Ventureast Fund Advisors India, last week announced in Hyderabad, India, the formation of a biotechnology venture capital investment fund, according to the publication, Business Standard.

The fund had its first closing of $532,436, based on 15 million rupees from the state government and 10 million from Andhra Bank. Additional investment is expected to create a $3 million fund that will disburse funds to start-up and early-stage life-sciences businesses.

Additional investments were announced for three US and Indian companies — Genome Designs Private, Bio Serve, and Silico Insights.


USDA Scientists Pioneer Mixed Genome Analysis for Listeria

The US Department of Agriculture recently announced a microarray-based system for subtyping strains of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.

According to studies recently published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology scientists of USDA’s Agricultural Research Services have developed a mixed-genome microarray analysis to examine genes from 10 strains of Listeria for differences. USDA hopes to standardize this method of subtyping so that public health labs can compare large amounts of data on strains that may cause epidemics. Some of the 13 known strains of Listeria can cause Listeriosis, a food-borne illness linked to leftover meat and undercooked chicken.


Capital Genomix, Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences to Build Microarray Facility

Capital Genomix and the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute plan to establish a microarray core facility, Capital announced last week. BRNI is a non-profit institute focusing on translational research in the area of Alzheimer’s disease.

Capital, based in Chantilly, Va., holds a microarray service license from Affymetrix. The company expects the collaboration with BRNI will expand to include its own gene expression and antibody technologies, called GeneSystem320 and ImmunoMouse, respectively.


Epoch Biosciences Sells Specialty Oligo Business to Eurogentec

Epoch Biosciences of Bothell, Wash., last week announced the sale of its specialty oligonucleotide business to Liege, Belgium-based Eurogentec.

The sale, for $1.4 million in cash, closed on May 30. With the sale, Epoch will transfer its customer base, manufacturing equipment, and inventory to Eurogentec and the two companies will include North America in an existing supply agreement that allows Eurogentec to sell custom oligonucleotides that include Epoch dyes and non-fluorescent quenchers.

Epoch said that the sale will allow it to focus on its MGB Eclipse probe systems business and will help the company enter the diagnostics market later this year. The company will record a loss of $3 million on the transaction, taking a non-cash write-off for inventory, equipment, and other assets.

Epoch purchased the business, known as Synthetic Genetics, a division of Immune Complex Corp., in November 2000 for $2.6 million to provide manufacturing capacity for the TaqMan MGB probe products marketed by Applied Biosystems.


University of Leipzig Opts for Insightful’s Microarray Solution

Insightful of Seattle said last week that the University of Leipzig in Germany has selected the company’s microarray data analysis system. Financial details were not provided. The S+ArrayAnalyzer is a Internet-based system for sharing and analyzing microarray data.


Microarray Test Used to Predict Breast Cancer Patients’ Response to ChemoTherapy

Researchers at the Breast Care Center at Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital have used a microarray-based test to predict which breast cancer tumors will respond to chemotherapy, according to a statement issued by the school announcing data presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago last week.

The study identified difference in gene patterns from tumor samples that predict which patients would respond to treatment with the chemotherapy drug docetaxel. After studying pretreatment biopsies from 24 patients and their genes after treatment, results show that tumors responding to docetaxel showed a different pattern than tumors that had not responded to drug therapy. This study marks the first time microarray technology has been used to study breast cancer tumor response to a chemotherapeutic agent. The results are subject to further study.

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.