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Harvard/Partners Center, Invitrogen, DTI, Vala Sciences, Partek

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Harvard/Partners Center Will Use Affy Arrays in Atherosclerosis Study

The Harvard Medical School-Partners Health Care Center for Genetics and Genomics will use Affymetrix’s GeneChip Human Mapping microarrays in a genotyping study of atherosclerosis, the two institutions said last week.

HPCGG will obtain the arrays by the end of June under an early access program. In the study, which is funded by the Reynolds Foundation, researchers will genotype more than 1,200 patient samples from the Women’s Health Study, an ongoing NIH study of cardiovascular disease in which 38,000 women participate.

The Human Mapping array is capable of scanning up to 500,000 SNPs, according to Affymetrix.(See Q&A, p. 7)


Invitrogen Posts 22-Percent Jump in Q4 Organic Revenue Growth

Invitrogen last week reported a 22-percent jump in organic fourth-quarter revenue growth amid higher R&D spending and significantly stronger net income.

Total receipts for the three months ending Dec. 31, 2004, increased 26 percent to $262.2 million from $207.7 million in the year-ago quarter. The company said 4 percent of that growth was the result of favorable currency exchange rates.

Invitrogen said revenue from its BioDiscovery segment grew to $149 million in the fourth quarter, which includes 3 percent of organic growth. Around 4 percent of the increase was the result of favorable currency exchange rates, the company said. Invitrogen attributed the organic portion of the growth to “a direct result of more effective selling” as well as the release of new products.

Similarly, Invitrogen said revenue from its BioProduction business grew to $113.2 million in the fourth quarter, which includes 13 percent in organic growth. However, when factoring in favorable currency exchange rates, “continuing demand for cell culture products,” and additional revenue from BioReliance, which Invitrogen acquired last February, revenue growth in the segment increased 65 percent.

R&D spending in the period increased 25 percent to $20 million from $16 million year over year.

Net income in the quarter surged 42 percent to $30.5 million, or $.60 per basic share, from $12.6 million, or $.25 per basic share during the same period one year ago.

Invitrogen said it had around $983.4 million in cash and investments as of Dec. 31, 2004.

Looking ahead, Invitrogen reiterated a previously announced forecast to post 2005 revenue of around $1.2 billion. This would mark a 17-percent increase from the $1 billion revenue the company posted for 2004.


DTI-Sponsored DNA Microarray Dataset Available Online

A DNA microarray dataset, generated during the first phase of the UK’s Department of Trade and Industry’s Measurements for Biotechnology program, has been made freely available online, the analytical lab service company LGC said last week.

The dataset was produced by an LGC-led consortium, and relates to four commercially available arrays that probe the human genome, with between 4,000 and 30,000 genes probed per array, LGC said. The dataset can be accessed at ArrayExpress, a public repository managed by the European Bioinformatics Institute.


Vala Sciences Enters Market with Cell Image-Based Reagents, Analysis Software Tools

Vala Sciences has entered the market as a provider of cell image-based reagents and analysis software tools for academic, pharmaceutical, and biotech scientists, the company said.

The La Jolla, Calif.-based start-up also announced that it is starting off with $3.5 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health, the California Technology Investment Partnership Program, and private investors.

Vala’s core team, headed by CEO Jeffrey Price, said that its automated technology would save researchers weeks of time when analyzing images attained by fluorescence-based microscopy. Price formerly developed software for microscopy analysis for Q3DM.

According to Vala, collaborations have already been initiated with Chemical Genomics, The Burnham Institute, Regenemed, the University of Florida, and others for a variety of projects.


Partek Licenses Software to Nestlé Research Center

Partek has licensed its Partek software to the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, the St.Louis, Mo-based software provider said this week.

According to Partek, Nestlé purchased a site license of its software to conduct statistical analysis on gene expression data.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The Scan

Guidelines for Ancient DNA Work

More than two dozen researchers have developed new ethical guidelines for conducting ancient DNA research, which they present in Nature.

And Cleared

A UK regulator has cleared former UK Prime Minister David Cameron in concerns he should have registered as a consultant-lobbyist for his work with Illumina, according to the Financial Times.

Suit Over Allegations

The Boston Globe reports that David Sabatini, who was placed on leave from MIT after allegations of sexual harassment, is suing his accuser, the Whitehead Institute, and the institute's director.

Nature Papers on Esophageal Cancer, Origin of Modern Horses, Exome Sequencing of UK Biobank Participants

In Nature this week: genetic and environmental influences of esophageal cancer, domestic horse origin traced to Western Eurasian steppes, and more.