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ERCC, CapitalBio, Affymetrix, and CRFGRC, GeneChip, Gene Logic and Biogen, U of Washington and Applied Precision, Detroit R&D and NIH, Funakoshi and Affibody, and Brown University and NIH


ERCC Test Plan Accepted at NIST-Hosted Conference

Members of the External RNA Controls Consortium last week accepted a document that lays out approximately 100 controls for microarray and QT-PCR experiments and a plan on how to test them, according to a consortium leader.

Janet Warrington, vice president of R&D at Affymetrix and an ERCC leader, told BioArray News last week that the "test plan was accepted" following the ERCC's Oct. 4-5 conference in Bethesda, Md., and that a "meeting summary will be posted at and" shortly.

Michael Baum, a spokesperson for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which has hosted the ERCC, said that he did not have a "date and time" for when the finalized plan would be published but that it would be done "ASAP."

The External RNA Controls Consortium is an ad hoc group of 70 partners from industry, government, and academia formed to standardize controls for quality control during array and QT-PCR experiments.

Baum told BioArray News last month that the ERCC expects to begin validating the RNA samples across platforms "in [the] fourth quarter of 2005." It had published a draft copy of the document approved last week in August, and welcomed public comment before the Bethesda conference.

Warrington told BioArray News last May that the testing of the controls should begin in the fourth quarter of 2005 and will be "undertaken by microarray manufacturers, such as Affymetrix, so-called 'neutral' sites like NIST and the CDC, and by diagnostic firms" (see BAN 6/1/2005).

CapitalBio to Provide Affy Array Services to Chinese Rice Functional Genomics Research Consortium

CapitalBio of Beijing will provide Affymetrix GeneChip microarray services to the Chinese Rice Functional Genomics Research Consortium, the companies said this week.

CRFGRC consists of more than a dozen Chinese research institutes, national laboratories, and universities. "I am pleased that CapitalBio and Affymetrix have committed to providing more affordable rice microarrays," said Yongbiao Xue, co-chair of CRFGRC and director of the Institute of Genetics and Development Biology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in a statement.

In April, Affymetrix and CapitalBio signed a marketing and licensing agreement, and started joint R&D and commercialization programs (see BAN 4/27/2005).

Gene Logic, Biogen Idec to Trade Access to Technology, Services

Gene Logic and Biogen Idec announced last week that they have signed a co-licensing agreement that will enable Gene Logic to provide genomic services using Biogen Idec's NHP Affymetrix GeneChip microarray and will in return give Biogen Idec a one-year subscription to Gene Logic's ToxExpress System and ToxShield services.

Gene Logic said in a statement that it believes Biogen's custom NHP array will be a useful addition to its Microarray Data Generation and Analysis Services for analyzing gene expression data to "aid in identifying drug targets and biomarkers, assessing drug toxicity, and prioritizing drug candidates." Gene Logic's exclusive access will expire in three years, according to the statement.

Biogen Idec said it will use Gene Logic's ToxExpress System as a tool for assessing potential toxicity of their proprietary drug candidates and its ToxShield Suite for "assessing and rank ordering drug candidates based on potential toxicity in humans."

Financial details were not discussed.

University of Washington Buys Applied Precision Chip Reader for Array CGH Studies

Researchers at the University of Washington will use Applied Precision's arrayWoRxe Biochip Reader in their experiments, the university said last week.

Researchers at the UW School of Medicine's Department of Genome Sciences evaluated the system based on its ability to read results from array comparative genome-hybridization experiments, UW said.

Financial details of the purchase were not discussed.

Detroit R&D Receives $850K from NIH to Develop Antibody Array

Detroit R&D recently received a $100,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research award from the National Institutes of Health to fund the production of single-chain recombinant antibodies for early detection of cancer.

In addition, the company received a $750,000 Phase II SBIR award to develop antibody microarrays to screen drug-metabolizing enzymes.

Previously, Detroit R&D had received six SBIRs to develop technology for studying hypertension, COX-2-dependent DNA damage, and drug screening. In addition, the company currently has two active Phase I SBIRs in breast cancer and fetal alcohol syndrome and one active Phase II SBIR in drug metabolism of frog embryos.

Funakoshi to Distribute Affibody Products in Japan

Funakoshi will distribute Affibody's products in Japan, according to a statement from both companies.

Affibody, a Stockholm, Sweden-based research reagents supplier, said that the deal would enable it "to meet the high demand for research reagents in Japan."

Financial details were not discussed.

Brown University Receives $11M from NIH to Research Genomics, Proteomics of Cancer

Brown University has received a five-year, $11 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support genetically based cancer research at its Center for Genomics and Proteomics.

According to the university's newspaper, the Brown Daily Herald, five faculty members led by John Sedivy, a professor of medical science and the director of the Center for Genomics and Proteomics, will use the funds to investigate DNA damage, cell growth and division, hormone signaling, and other events that lead to the development or spread of cancer.

The $11 million NIH grant is the second grant given to Brown through the NIH's Center of Biomedical Research Excellence program. In 2000, the NIH awarded the university $11 million to fund the creation of the Center for Genomics and Proteomics.

The Scan

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.