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Innovative Biosensors, US Army, Burrill & Company, St. Joseph s Hospital and Medical Center, Strategic Research Institute, ISCB, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, CombiMatrix Group, Cyrano

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Innovative Biosensors and US Army Medical Research Institute Enter R&D Collaboration

Innovative Biosensors, a Gaithersburg, Md., company that develops diagnostic tests, said it agreed with the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases to enter into a cooperative research and development agreement to develop a test for severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. The two will work to develop a portable test based on the Gaithersburg company’s biosensor technology.

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Innovative Biosensors was founded by Joe Fernandez, formerly of Digene, Affymetrix, and Merck. The company is commercializing the CANARY (cellular analysis and notification of antigen risks and yields), a technology licensed from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, which uses cells of the immune system that have been engineered to express recombinant antibodies specific to the antigen of interest as well as a protein-based emitter molecule in the cell’s cytosol. The binding of the antigen to the engineered antibody on the cell’s surface results in light emission, detectable in a sensitive and rapid fashion by a small optical detection device. This approach allows for rapid testing of analytes with previously unseen levels of sensitivity and specificity, the company said.


Burrill & Co. Closes $211 Million Life Science Fund

San Francisco-based Burrill & Company, a life sciences merchant bank, announced last week the year-end closing of its Burrill Life Sciences Capital Fund with a total fund commitment of $211 million for investment in biotechnology.


Phoenix St. Joseph’s Hospital and Nanogen Ally to Develop Alzheimer’s Genetic Tests

Phoenix-based St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center last week announced that it will use Nanogen’s NanoChip molecular biology workstation and analyte-specific reagents to collaborate with the San Diego-based company to develop genetic tests for Alzheimer’s disease.

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

St. Joseph’s DNA Diagnostics Laboratories will use the NanoChip platform to detect the specific genetic form of the ApoE gene, which scientists believe can be associated with an increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.


Microtechnology, Biochip Conference Announced for May in San Diego

The Strategic Research Institute last week announced the conference “Microtechnologies Drug Discovery World Summit 2004,” convening in San Diego, Calif., May 17-18. The conference will include parallel tracks on biochips and microfluidics along with a keynote plenary session. Both tracks will cover technical standards in microarrays (experimental design, array format), as well as statistical approaches, visualization tools, comparative genomics and diagostics, and applications in the microfluidics chip technologies.


ISCB Conference Seeking Posters

The International Society for Computational Biology is seeking posters for its 12th International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology and the Third European Conference on Computational Biology to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, July 31-Aug. 4, 2004. Poster presentationa describing original research in systems biology, genome and proteome annotation, comparative and functional genomics, microarrays and proteomics, are sought.


Federal Agency Seeks Research Applications for Microbial Genome Program

The Office of Biological and Environmental Research of the Office of Science , U.S. Department of Energy, said in the Federal Register last week that is seeking applications for research in support of the Microbial Genome Program, focused on already-sequenced microbes of interest to the DOE, e.g., those involved in environmental processes, including waste remediation, carbon management, biomass conversion, and energy production.


CombiMatrix and Cyrano Sciences To Collaborate on Chemical Sniffer

Acacia Research Corporation’s CombiMatrix Group and Cyrano Sciences this week said they will collaborate on the development of chemical sensors that merge CombiMatrix’s microarray technology with Cyrano’s array based nanocomposite sensor technology, also known as “electronic nose” technology.

Cyrano is based in Pasadena, Calif.

Financial details of the companies’ collaboration 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.