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BioArray Briefs: Jan 18, 2002


Silicon Genetics Licenses GeneSpring to AstraZeneca


Silicon Genetics of Redwood City, Calif., has licensed GeneSpring and its other software products, GeNet and Script Editor, to AstraZeneca.

“Gene expression analysis is a fundamental tool of modern drug discovery and development, and AstraZeneca expects to benefit from broader access to Silicon Genetics’ informatics technology,” stated Kenneth Fasman, AstraZeneca’s vice president and global head of R&D informatics. “We believe their products will enhance our ability to exploit our complementary investments in this area.”

Silicon Genetics has also licensed its software to PerkinElmer and the Karolinska Institute this year.


Bayer and Burrill & Company Form New Diagnostics Capital Fund


Bayer Diagnostics and Burrill & Company of San Francisco have formed a new $50-million venture capital fund, the Burrill Diagnostics Capital Fund. The initial closing is $25 million, and the company expects to complete the funding by June 2002.

The fund will provide financing to diagnostics companies developing and applying biology-based technologies. It will also provide growth capital to product-based diagnostics companies. The diagnostics opportunities the fund is seeking to exploit include in vitro and in vivo diagnostics as well as the emerging field of “diagnomics.”

The Diagnostics Capital Fund is one among several life science-focused funds managed by Burrill & Company.


PerkinElmer and Millipore Enter Co-Marketing Agreement for Automated Sample Prep


PerkinElmer Life Sciences has signed an agreement one of the first since its Packard acquisition with Millipore to co-market automated sample prep devices.

Under the non-exclusive agreement the companies will both market PerkinElmer’s Packard brand instrumentation and Millipore sample-prep platforms and software protocols for mid- to high-throughput research centers. The companies will market the Packard MultiProbe II, MiniTrak, PlateTrak, and DNATrak liquid handling systems along with Millipore’s sample prep platforms, including its Montage Life Science Kits, ZipTip pipette tips and MultiScreen filter plates.


Xanthon Wins $70,000 SBIR Grant from US Army


High-density microarray company Xanthon of Research Triangle Park, NC, has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the US Army for research into the feasibility of developing a portable electrochemical DNA biosensor, the company said last week.

The device would rely on electronic hybridization, fluidics, and electrochemical detection to “simultaneously detect and identify multiple nucleic acid determinants of a variety of pathogens,” Xanthon stated.


Perlegen Turns Over a New Wafer


Perlegen Sciences, the spinoff of Affymetrix using whole wafers of GeneChips to discover genetic variations associated with disease, has moved into a new facility as it begins gene-to-phenotype association studies, according to Jesse Hsu, the company’s director of corporate development.

In December the company moved from Santa Clara, Calif., into a 60,000-square-foot building in Mountain View, Calif. Approximately half the space in this new building is dedicated to a wet lab and the other half to computer facilities. The wet lab will be used over the next few months to begin DNA analysis of human blood samples for association studies that Perlegen has planned. Hsu estimated the company will have its first gene targets toward the beginning of 2003.


Genetix Acquires Microarray Scanner Rights from Biomedical Photometrics


Genetix Group has licensed the rights to manufacture and sell the aQuire microarray scanners owned by Biomedical Photometrics of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, in an effort to fill out its product line.

The scanners are intended to complement Genetix’ existing arraying robots and to allow the company to sell what it calls complete systems for gene-expression analysis.

The aQuire scanners will be built in Genetix’s Hampshire, UK facility, a company spokeswoman said. The units will be sold with the QArray line in Genetix’ existing markets in Europe, the US, and Asia.

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.