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CW Group, Affy, Illumina, Kreatech, Icoria, VizX Labs, TIGR

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CW Group Subpoenaed in Affy v. Illumina;
Depositions Could Start in October

CW Group, a venture capital firm that has invested in Illumina, has received a subpoena to give deposition in Affymetrix vs. Illumina, according to a notice filed last week in a US District Court.

The subpoena, filed Sept. 8 by Affymetrix attorneys, schedules a deposition to take place Oct. 26 in San Diego, and commands a representative of CW Group to give testimony related to investment in Illumina, and discussions between CW Group and Illumina, Tufts University, Tufts University professor David Walt, and Illumina cofounder Mark Chee.

A representative of CW Group is also commanded to give testimony regarding the development of any technology used in Illumina's BeadArray arrays, instruments, and software, and licensing of any technology related to the BeadArray platform.

The deposition may be moved to a future date, however, according to Illumina attorney Marc Sernel.

Sernel told BioArray News last week that a similar deposition scheduled by Affymetrix to take testimony from Illumina representatives in San Diego in late August had yet to occur (see BAN 8/24/2005).

Sernel said it was likely that depositions in the case would start next month. "We would expect depositions to start in the case later in October," he said.

Affymetrix sued Illumina in July 2004 for allegedly infringing six of its patents. Illumina two months later responded by stating it is not infringing on the patents and that the IP is so broad as to be invalid.

A scheduling order filed in US District Court on July 13 set the trial date in the case for Oct. 16, 2006.


Dutch Biotech Kreatech Opens Shop in US

Kreatech, an Amsterdam, Netherlands-based biotechnology company, has opened a US office in San Diego, the firm said last week.

Brent Keller, Kreatech's current vice president of commercial operations and general manager of US operations, has been tapped to head the new office, which Keller told BioArray News last week will "help validate the company by having a physical presence in the world's largest market." Keller said that time-zone differences had made it "difficult for our distributor in the US and our customers to communicate directly with us" and that the new office should "facilitate communications between customer, distributor, and Kreatech.

"In addition, we have several collaborators in the US and this presence provides them a way of communicating more directly with us and allows us to better work with them to move our projects forward," Keller said.

Keller said that he anticipates adding "some technical support personnel in the future to handle inquiries from our customers, as well as a logistics person" at the new San Diego location. He said that Kreatech has no plans to open similar offices in other markets at this time.

The company, however, has seen an increase in partnerships and distribution agreements in recent months. BioArray News spoke with Kreatech at their headquarters in North Amsterdam to discuss their commercial strategy last July (see BAN 7/13/2005).


Newly Formed Consortium to Study Genomics of Salmonids

A new international consortium has been formed to study the genomics of salmonids, including Pacific salmon, trout, and smelt.

The Consortium for Genomics Research on All Salmonids Project, or cGRASP, brings together dozens of salmonid experts from Canada, Norway, the US, and the UK. Willie Davidson from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, and Stig Omholt from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences are co-leaders of the consortium.

The consortium currently has CA$346 million ($294 million) in funding from Genome Canada, Genome British Columbia, and other Canadian and international partners, according to a British Columbia newspaper.

The consortium is a continuum of the Genomics Research on Atlantic Salmon Project, or GRASP, which winds up this December.

CGRASP hopes to build on the physical map of the Atlantic salmon genome that was produced by GRASP. Over the next three years, cGRASP aims to build a genetic map for salmonids other than Atlantic salmon, and to develop a 26,000-gene chip for studying salmon. It also hopes to identify salmonid genes that regulate the immune system and control growth and development.

BioArray News spoke with a researcher from the Seattle-based Western Fisheries Research Center about using GRASP's trout arrays to study pathogens in Rainbow Trout last June (see BAN 6/1/2005).


Icoria Unit Paradigm Signs Three Gene-Expression Contracts Worth $1.1M

Icoria business unit Paradigm Array Labs has signed three service contracts worth an estimated $1.1 million with Duke University, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and an undisclosed biotechnology company, the firm said last week.

"We have already exceeded 2004 revenues and are aggressively pursuing new business opportunities, including projects related to clinical trials," Faye O'Brien, senior business director of Icoria, said in a statement. Paradigm is the gene expression-profiling service unit of Research Triangle Park, NC-based Icoria.

The Duke University contract is focused on the study of environmental toxicants and their affect on humans and the environment, and involves four years of research on "multiple organisms" for the university's Superfund Basic Research Center, according to Paradigm.

The two-year EPA contract involves a custom microarray for zebrafish designed by Icoria and produced by Agilent, Paradigm said. That contract is also related to the study of environmental toxicants, the company said.

Of its third contract with the unnamed biotech company, Paradigm said only that its work is "underway and is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2006."


VizX Labs Sells GeneSifter Microarray Analysis
Software to Labs in US, UK, and Australia

VizX Labs has recently sold its microarray data-analysis software to academic groups in the US, the UK, and Australia, the Seattle-based bioinformatics company said last week.

Among the new customers of VizX's GeneSifter software are groups at the Oregon Cancer Institute, the University of Leeds, the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, the Baylor University School of Medicine, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and the University of Western Australia.


TIGR Buys Two Genetix Microarray Platforms

Genetix announced this week that the Institute for Genomic Research's Pathogen Functional Genomics Resource Center has installed two of its QArray2 microarrayers.

TIGR researchers will use the system to create whole-genome microarrays to study a number of pathogens, such as Bacillus anthracis, Coronavirus/SARS, and Plasmodium falciparum.

The Scan

Science Confidence Boost

The New York Times reports that a new poll finds trust in science and scientists has increased with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Appeal and Funds

Some grant applications denied funding due to an Australian Research Council rule change have now been funded following an appeal, the Guardian reports.

Surveillance for Variants

Vox writes that the detection of the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant highlights the need for improved viral genomic surveillance.

Nature Papers Examine Taxonomic Gaps in Plant Sequencing, SARS-CoV-2-Human Interactome

In Nature this week: plant genome sequencing dominated by affluent countries, and more.