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Illumina, Life & Brain, Fluidigm, Applera, Applied Biosystems, Finnish Red Cross, Ariadne Genomics, GeneGo, National Cancer Institute, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Illumina Adds Service Providers in Germany, Japan
Illumina said last week that it has certified German firm Life & Brain to provide services using its genetic analysis technology.
Life & Brain is the first company in Germany to become a certified service provider under Illumina’s CSPro partnership program, the company said. Life & Brain offers whole-genome genotyping services based on Illumina's Infinium assay.
Separately, Illumina said that Mitsubishi Chemical Safety Institute became the first Illumina certified genetic analysis service provider in Japan.
The Mitsubishi Chemical Safety Institute provides various analyses and services for pharmaceutical and chemical companies as well as for public institutions. It also offers whole-genome and targeted genotyping services using Illumina’s Infinium and GoldenGate assays.
Because of its involvement in toxicogenomic and pharmacogenomic investigations, MCSI “has acquired an abundance of experience in the development of genomic analysis technologies,” said Masaru Sekijima, general manager of the Advanced Medical Science Research Center at MCSI.
Companies participating in Illumina’s certified service provider program are required to undergo a certification process based on data generation and data certification in addition to an on-site facility and process audit.
Illumina said that there are nearly 20 participants in its CSPro program already certified or in the process of certification.

Fluidigm Sues Applied Biosystems over Nucleic Acid Amplification Patent
South San Francisco, Calif.-based Fluidigm has filed a lawsuit against Applera and its Applied Biosystems unit in which it is seeking a declaration from the court that it is not infringing an Applera patent.
Fluidigm has not filed a patent infringement suit against ABI, but rather filed the suit in response to a letter it recently received from ABI demanding the firm “immediately cease and desist from the manufacture, importation, use, sale, and offer of sale of [Fluidigm’s] BioMark System for Genetic Analysis” in jurisdictions in which ABI’s patent is valid.
The patent at issue, US No. 6,814,934, is entitled “Instrument for Monitoring Nucleic Acid Amplification” and was issued to ABI in November 2004. After it was issued, ABI filed patent-infringement suits against Bio-Rad Laboratories, MJ Research, and Stratagene, but the company has since settled all litigation surrounding the patent.
Fluidigm said in its complaint, filed on June 9 in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, that it believes “the danger that Applera will sue Fluidigm for infringement is real and imminent.”
Fluidigm is seeking a declaratory judgment of non-infringement of the ‘934 patent and a judgment that the ‘934 patent is invalid because it fails to satisfy the conditions and requirements for patentability.
The BioMark system is used for gene expression analysis, genotyping, and digital PCR applications.

Finnish Red Cross Licenses Ariadne Genomics' Software
The Finnish Red Cross has licensed Ariadne Genomics’ Pathway Studio Enterprise software for use in modeling diseases and studying biological pathways, the company said last week.
The Finnish scientists plan to use the software to extract information from text; to create databases about diseases, organisms, and cell types; and to study diseases and identify risk groups.
The software allows the scientists to “add and update databases, expand the database content, and work with our own and third-party data,” said Finnish Red Cross bioinformatician Pauli Ojala.
Ariadne European Sales Manager Olivier Brun said that the Finnish scientists “have created several different pipelines that process literature and automatically update their custom human and non-mammalian databases."
The software includes the ResNet database, which includes more than one million unique molecular interactions and relationships from literature, in addition to tools to query the database, create molecular networks, and interpret gene expression data, the Rockville, Md.-based company said.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

GeneGo Nets SBIR Grant from NCI
GeneGo said last week that it plans to use a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop cancer data analysis software in a collaboration with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
GeneGo said it is developing a system called MetaMiner that will be tailored for biologists, clinicians, and chemists involved in cancer research. The software will combine pathway and network analysis tools, serve as a data repository, and include certain statistical tools.
“We need to understand in a database structure the causal relationships between the involved pathways and the dynamics of pathway activation during tumorigenesis,” GeneGo CEO Yuri Nikolsky said in a statement.
Kornelia Polyak, an associate professor at Dana-Farber involved in the research, said that the effort will focus on development of pathway-based tools to integrate different types of data including somatic mutations, high copy number genes, epigenetics, gene expression, proteomics, and metabolomics.
Genego has received previous SBIR funding from the NCI for another cancer-centered collaboration with the Mayo Clinic involving the company’s MetaCore software.

According to an NIH grants database, the one-year SBIR is worth $200,000.

The Scan

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.

Study Presents New Insights Into How Cancer Cells Overcome Telomere Shortening

Researchers report in Nucleic Acids Research that ATRX-deficient cancer cells have increased activity of the alternative lengthening of telomeres pathway.

Researchers Link Telomere Length With Alzheimer's Disease

Within UK Biobank participants, longer leukocyte telomere length is associated with a reduced risk of dementia, according to a new study in PLOS One.

Nucleotide Base Detected on Near-Earth Asteroid

Among other intriguing compounds, researchers find the nucleotide uracil, a component of RNA sequences, in samples collected from the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, as they report in Nature Communications.