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Lynx Therapeutics, European Union, MWG Biotech, Germany s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, Roche, Promega CorporationAcceptys, PharmaSeq


Lynx Posts Sharp Drop in Revenues, And Slight Increase in its Net Loss

Lynx Therapeutics last week reported revenues of $1.3 million, down from $3.3 million during the first quarter of last year and a net loss of $4.2 million, or $.66 per share, up from $4 million, or $.85 per share, during the same period last year.

Research and development costs declined to $2.5 million, from $3.6 million in the year-ago period. As of March 31, Lynx had cash and cash equivalents of $5.6 million.

Additionally, the company announced the signing of three contracts and the renewal of two others for its Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing gene expression analysis service.

Under a new contract with the National Cancer Institute, Lynx will apply MPSS to identify chromosome reconfigurations in cancer. In addition, under a new agreement with the National Center for Toxicogenomics of the National Institute of Environmental and Health Sciences, the company will characterize gene expression in liver and blood samples from rats treated with various doses of acetaminophen.

Also, under a new agreement with the Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project and scientists from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Lynx will analyze gene expression in different tissues and developmental stages of Drosophila.

Lynx renewed an existing contract with the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, to continue work that had started in 2002 with NCI to characterize gene expression in cancer. The company also extended an existing agreement with the National Institute of Aging to study stem cell gene expression.

European Marine Genomics Network of Excellence Established

The European Union last week announced a Network of Excellence to introduce genomic approaches and technologies developed in other fields to marine sciences.

Networks of Excellence are European-based partnerships designed to gather together various research capabilities to address scientific, technical, socio-economic, or policy issues. According to the EU, the network joins 44 institutes from 16 European nations, ensuring the involvement of about 300 researchers in total. The EU said that it has invested €10 million ($12 million) into the program.

“Being a Network of Excellence, we are not focusing so much on specific scientific outputs,” Adelino Canarion, director of the Algarve center of marine sciences at the University of Algarve in Portugal and partner in the marine genomics effort, said in a statement released through the EU. “Our aim is rather to integrate approaches throughout Europe. One example will be the development of high-throughput gene sequencing techniques for the study of marine biology.”

MWG Raises €3.1M in Share Offering

MWG Biotech announced last week that it has raised €3.1 million ($3.7 million) in capital through a stock offering to institutional investors.

The stock was offered at €1.25 per share, and the total placement value was €3.88 million. The shares were placed by VEM Aktienbank.

MWG said that it plans to use the extra capital to finance the development of a new technology for making synthetic nucleic acids. The company said that with the new technology in place, it could reduce production costs for the molecules by 40 percent.

Germany’s Ministry of Education and Research Funds Genomics with €135M

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding 300 research projects under the German National Genome Research Network program with €135 million ($160 million), the ministry said last week.

The three-year funding is the second round of the program, which focuses on disease-oriented projects. The projects will focus on heart disease, cancer, infectious diseases and inflammation, environmental diseases, and diseases of the nervous system.

Besides research networks, the second round will fund individual projects and includes new technologies, such as RNA interference.

Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation Funds Weizmann Institute Neuroscientist

The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation of Springfield, NJ, last week announced a two-year grant of $149,600 to Mike Fainzilber, a neuroscientist with the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel. Fainzilber is investigating changes in gene expression after injury to a nerve. He is seeking to identify changes in genes that are activated very early in the regenerative process, and attempt to modulate the injury- induced changes with the application of a unique peptide.

Roche Prevails On Promega PCR Claim But Will Appeal Court's Determination on Taq

A California US District Court has rejected Promega Corporation's challenge of Roche Diagnostics' portfolio of PCR patents, the company said Monday in a statement. Roche said it intends to press claims that Promega infringed on its PCR process patents.

Additionally, Roche said it plans to appeal the court's determination that its patent on the enzyme used by some practitioners to perform PCR, called "Taq," is unenforceable due to a finding of inequitable conduct. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals had previously vacated the lower court's earlier finding of unenforceability, which it called an "extreme remedy."

Biotech Startup to Establish Headquarters In Lower Manhatttan, R&D in Albany

Acceptys, a biotechnology company launched in the Audubon Biomedical Science and Technology Park at Columbia University Medical Center, announced on Monday that it will invest $3 million to establish headquarters in lower Manhattan and research and development facilities at SUNY Albany's campus in order to be near the university’s Cancer Genomics Center of Excellence, according to news reports.

Acceptys has received an equity investment from the New York City Investment Fund and is eligible to apply for a grant of up to $200,000 from the state to fund equipment purchases and investments.

PharmaSeq Wins NIH Grant for Instrument

New Jersey-based PharmaSeq this week announced it has earned a Phase I SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a prototype instrument to analyze fluorescence of microtransponders at two wavelengths to quantitate gene-expression in cells.


The Scan

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.

Study Points to Benefits of Local Consolidative Therapy, Targeted Treatments in Cancer Care

In JCO Precision Oncology, researchers report that local consolidative therapy combined with molecularly targeted treatments could improve survival for some lung cancer patients.

Genetic Variants That Lower LDL Cholesterol Linked to Reduced Heart Disease Risk

Rare variants in two genes that lower LDL cholesterol are also associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease, according to a new JAMA Cardiology study.

Study Links Evolution of Longevity, Social Organization in Mammals

With the help of comparative phylogenetics and transcriptomics, researchers in Nature Communications see ties between lifespan and social organization in mammals.