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Implen, Perlegen, International Rice Research Institute, NSF, USDA, DOE, Agilent, Illumina, Aviagen, DNA Chip, AIST, OGT, Febit

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German Array-based Hybridization Shop Implen Opens UK Office

Implen, a Munich, Germany-based supplier of instruments and consumables for microarray-based hybridization and incubation applications, opened an office in Southend on Sea near London on Oct. 1. The company's services will now be available in the UK and Ireland.

Implen supplies the LabelGuard Microliter Cell and distributes Advalytix's SlideBooster, ArrayBooster Hybridization Stations, and AdvaWash Universal Slide Washing Stations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the UK, and Ireland.


Perlegen, International Rice Research Institute to Conduct Whole-Genome Rice Variation Study

Perlegen Sciences and the International Rice Research Institute will collaborate on a rice-genome variation study utilizing 15 types of the food crop, the organizations said last week.

Perlegen plans to use Affymetrix's microarray technology for whole-genome SNP analyses of the 15 varieties, using as references the rice genome sequences produced by the International Rice Genome Sequencing Project and the Beijing Genomics Institute, the statement said.

The research aims to reveal the genetic basis for important agricultural traits, and may result in hardier, more productive strains of rice.


NSF, USDA, DOE Allocate $30M to Sequence Maize Genome

The National Science Foundation and the US Departments of Agriculture and Energy have allocated nearly $30 million to sequence the maize genome, and has enlisted the help of four research institutions to complete the project.

Washington University, the University of Arizona, Iowa State University, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory will help the agencies complete the project.

Washington University said scientists will sequence a maize cultivar known as B73 that is commonly used in maize genetics research. Sequencing is scheduled to begin next month, and information will be available online in early 2006. Scientists estimate the project will take three years.

The University of Arizona, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and Washington University worked together previously in sequencing the rice genome, which was completed in August.

Last month, the NSF awarded $4.5 million to Purdue University to sequence the soybean genome.


Agilent Reports 5-Percent Fiscal Q4 Revenue Gain and Decreased Profits

Agilent Technologies said last week that its revenues for its fiscal fourth quarter rose by 5 percent, while net income dropped by nearly two thirds.

Agilent's total revenue for the fourth quarter grew 5 percent to $1.4 billion from $1.3 billion for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2004, the company reported yesterday. Orders increased $308 million for the quarter, or 25.8 percent over last year.

The segment reported a 9.8-percent increase in total orders for the quarter ended Oct. 31 to $402 million from $366 million last year. Total revenue in the segment grew 8.5 percent for the quarter to $382 million from $352 million last year.

Increased orders for Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis contributed to the increase in total revenue, the company said, citing mixed demand from large pharmaceutical companies but strength in biotech and generic pharmaceutical firms.

Demand for Agilent's new gas chromatograph and mass spectrometry platform was higher than earlier in the year, the company said.

Net income declined 65 percent for Agilent during the quarter to $26 million, or $.05 per share, from $74 million last year, or $.15 per share, year over year.

As part of its divesture activities, Agilent plans to complete the sale of its Semiconductor Products business by Dec. 1 and to spin off its Semiconductor Test Solutions business. The initial public offering is expected in the middle of fiscal year 2006. Agilent will receive proceeds from the sale of its 47-percent stake in Lumileds within the month, the company said.

Agilent's board authorized a share repurchase of approximately $2.7 million, or 73 million shares of its common stock, the company said. As of Oct. 31, Agilent has 500 million outstanding shares.

The modified "Dutch Auction" tender offer will purchase shares at a price between $32 and $37 and is expected to commence today and expire Dec. 13.

Agilent's quarterly research and development expenses increased 11 percent to $188 million from $169 million in the year-ago period.

Agilent had $2.2 billion in cash and cash equivalents as of Oct. 31.


Illumina Nears End of Poultry Genotyping Project for Aviagen

Illumina is nearly done with the second phase of a project with Aviagen to genotype broiler chicken DNA samples, Illumina said last week.

Illumina genotyped a panel of 3,072 SNPs during the first phase of the project, completed during the third quarter. The second phase genotyped another set of 3,072 markers against the same 2,000 samples used in the original phase.

Following data analysis, UK-based Aviagen will develop a custom panel of 1,536 broiler chicken SNPs and validate these markers against a new set of 2,000 samples, Illumina said.

Illumina is using its Sentrix Arrays and the GoldenGate assay for this study. The study is part of a genomics initiative by Aviagen to generate information for selective breeding of broiler chickens. Illumina said that the work should result in an increase in desirable traits such as disease resistance or efficient nutrient metabolism in chickens and improved yields of high-quality proteins for global food needs. Aviagen is also evaluating development of a similar panel to genotype turkeys.


DNA Chip Collaborates with AIST on Amination Reagents

DNA Chip Research and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology have developed a new amination reagent designed to modify oligonucleotides.

DNA Chip Research said this week that the reagent works by inducing a hydrogen bond within a molecular bond, creating a highly reactive aminated oligonucleotide.

The company also said that it has concluded a licensing agreement with Sigma-Aldrich Japan. The two companies plan to synthesize highly reactive aminated oligonucleotides using the newly developed reagent and, more generally, aim to develop and provide highly reliable gene analysis technology.


OGT Grants Febit an Array License, Signs on AI to Handle Informatics

Oxford Gene Technology has granted Febit Biotech a license to its microarray patents, and has chosen Applied InSilico to provide it with computational analysis tools, OGT and Febit said this week.

Febit said that it will use its license to the array patents developed by OGT founder Sir Edwin Southern to strengthen the IP position of its Geniom biological analysis device as it begins to market it worldwide.

OGT said in a separate statement that it has contracted with Applied InSilico to provide computational analysis services to OGT.

AI will use its Evolutionary Learning Environment software platform to analyze data generated from OGT's microarray technology and services, OGT said. The two companies will collaborate on a series of projects designed to deliver a range of new products and services for life science research.

Clive Briant, AI's vice president of business development, said that AI is "interested in the possibilities surrounding predictive diagnostics and creating intelligent medical devices."

The Scan

Push Toward Approval

The Wall Street Journal reports the US Food and Drug Administration is under pressure to grant full approval to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

Deer Exposure

About 40 percent of deer in a handful of US states carry antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Millions But Not Enough

NPR reports the US is set to send 110 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad, but that billions are needed.

PNAS Papers on CRISPR-Edited Cancer Models, Multiple Sclerosis Neuroinflammation, Parasitic Wasps

In PNAS this week: gene-editing approach for developing cancer models, role of extracellular proteins in multiple sclerosis, and more.