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Kreatech Biotechnology, Corus Pharma, Sopherion Therapeutics, Zyomyx, Whitehead, MIT, Center for Integrated Electronics


Kreatech Takes In $6.6M Funding

Kreatech Biotechnology of Amsterdam recently received a third round of private equity financing of €6 million ($6.6 million) led by 3i Group, a London-based firm, joined by Life Sciences Partners of Amsterdam and Munich, and Alafi Capital of Berkeley, Calif. Kreatech engages in commercializing labeling and detection technology for protein and nucleic acid labeling applications.


Corus Inks $40M Series B

Corus Pharma of Seattle, a biopharmaceutical company focused on respiratory and infectious diseases, announced the sale of $40 million in Series B preferred stock led by Novo A/S of Denmark, RBC Capital Partners of San Francisco, and JP Morgan Partners of New York, joining MDS Capital, Integra Ventures, Burrill & Co., OrbiMed Advisors, Cascade Investment, Washington Research Foundation, and Anthem Venture Partners. Corus raised $18.5 million in June 2001.


Sopherion Therapeutics Raises $26M

Sopherion Therapeutics, a New Haven, Conn.-based biotech company, raised $26 million in Series A funding led by TL Ventures. Other investors included HealthCap KB, ProQuest Investments, Intersouth Partners, Seaflower Ventures, Connecticut Innovations, Johnson & Johnson Development, and GE Life Science & Techn-ology Finance.


Zyomyx Sells System to Aventis

Zyomyx of Hayward, Calif., last week announced the sale of a protein profiling biochip system to Aventis. The package includes: the Assay 1200 automated workstation, which can process 12 chips simultaneously; the Scanner 100 biochip reader; and data analysis software. Priced at $150,000, with chips selling for $750, the system was rolled out in February.


Whitehead/MIT Team Finds Tiny RNA with New Software

Lee Lim, Christopher Burge, and colleagues from MIT and the Whitehead Institute report in the March 7 issue of Science a new computational method for detecting microRNAs — a class of noncoding RNAs around 22 nucleotides in length that control the expression of other genes at the post-transcriptional level.

The researchers used their software, called MiRscan, to identify 200-255 miRNA genes in the human genome. MiRscan takes a comparative genomics approach to identifying miRNA genes: It searches the human genome for segments similar to characteristic features of experimentally verified miRNA genes from several other species, including C. elegans and C. briggsae.

The researchers note that their estimate comprises around 1 percent of the predicted genes in humans — a similar portion to that seen for other large gene families with regulatory roles, such as those encoding transcription-factor proteins.


Nalamasu of Rensselaer Receives $1M Grant

Omkaram “Om” Nalamasu, professor of materials science and engineering and director of Rensselaer’s Center for Integrated Electronics (CIE), has received a $1 million grant from the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR) Faculty Development Program.

Nalamasu will use the grant to develop research programs in the following areas: microsystems; gigascale interconnect research; three-dimensional interconnect structures; materials properties and process modeling; and biochips and nanofabrication, the school said.

In addition to his Rensselaer center directorship, Nalamasu is the chief technical officer of the New Jersey Nanotechnology Consortium, a public/private nonprofit enterprise he co-founded to foster nanotechnology partnerships across academia, industry, and government.

The Scan

Study Tracks Responses in Patients Pursuing Polygenic Risk Score Profiling

Using interviews, researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics qualitatively assess individuals' motivations for, and experiences with, direct-to-consumer polygenic risk score testing.

EHR Quality Improvement Study Detects Demographic-Related Deficiencies in Cancer Family History Data

In a retrospective analysis in JAMA Network Open, researchers find that sex, ethnicity, language, and other features coincide with the quality of cancer family history information in a patient's record.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Linked to Gut Microbiome Community Structure Gradient in Meta-Analysis

Bringing together data from prior studies, researchers in Genome Biology track down microbial taxa and a population structure gradient with ties to ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.

Ancient Greek Army Ancestry Highlights Mercenary Role in Historical Migrations

By profiling genomic patterns in 5th century samples from in and around Himera, researchers saw diverse ancestry in Greek army representatives in the region, as they report in PNAS.