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Lynx Therapeutics, ISB, Oklahoma, Genomic Solutions, PharmaSeq

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Lynx, Institute for Systems Biology to Hunt for Prostate Cancer Gene Expression

Lynx Therapeutics and Leroy Hood’s Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle are bringing together Lynx’s next-generation gene expression technology and ISB’s data to study gene expression in prostate cancer and develop a systems biology approach to the disease, Lynx said last week.

Lynx will apply its Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing technology to identify genes that are differentially expressed in this cancer. MPSS consists of tags that attach to the ends of DNA fragments in the sample to be studied, and complementary antitags that are added to microbeads. The tagged fragments hybridize to the antitags, and the beads are directed into a flow cell, where the fragments are sequenced using Lynx’s sequencing instrument. The sequenced fragments are then counted to see how much of a certain transcript is present in each sample.

Prostate cancer typically progresses from a localized androgen-dependent disease to a more dangerous metastatic form, but the biological details of this transformation are not well understood. The systems biology approach, according to Lynx, may provide new insights into the mechanisms of this disease.

Hood, who founded the ISB in 2000, serves as a scientific advisor to Lynx.

 

Rounding Up All Okie Arrayers

Oklahoma can seem wide and lonely (that is until you drive across Texas) — and perhaps that’s why the state’s array community decided it would be OK to set up a non-commercial microarray listserv for users within the state lines. The listserv enables members of the Oklahoma microarray network, which includes microarray labs from Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma University, Norman, and University of Tulsa, to communicate with each other on issues related to instrumentation and microarray usage. To subscribe, go to http://lists.onenet.net/mailman/listinfo, and select Okmicroarray from the list. On the Okmicroarray page go down to “Subscribing to Okmicroarray” and fill in the requested information. For further information, contact Mollie Rangnow, assistant to Michael Centola, director of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation microarray core facility, at [email protected]

 

Genomic Solutions Replaces Auditor Arthur Andersen with Ernst & Young

Joining the stampede of clients to jump off of Arthur Andersen’s sinking ship, Genomic Solutions replaced the embattled accounting firm, which audited its 2000 and 2001 annual reports, with Ernst & Young last week.

Arthur Andersen was indicted March 14 by a US federal grand jury in connection with the scandal surrounding the failed energy giant Enron, for one felony count of obstruction of justice, and is currently on trial in Houston.

Genomic Solutions’ board of directors elected to dismiss Andersen on May 22. This followed a period of review, in which the company asked its shareholders in a proxy whether Andersen should be replaced. The board then reviewed alternatives to Arthur Andersen.

“We conducted a comprehensive review of several highly respected independent audit firms and we are confident that Ernest & Young is a good selection for Genomic Solutions,” said Steven Richvalsky, Genomic Solutions executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Genomic Solutions has filed a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission detailing the change in independent public accountants. In this form, Genomic Solutions stated that during the period where Andersen audited it, the reports were not “qualified or modified as to uncertainty, audit scope or accounting principles.”

 

PharmaSeq Plans to Use Dionex Cash To Make System Ready-For-Manufacture

Microtransponder probe startup PharmaSeq of Monmouth Junction, NJ, plans to use the $3 million in financing it obtained from Dionex to develop its technology to the point where it can be commercially manufactured, according to Mike Pappas, executive vice president of PharmaSeq.

“The funds we have received from Dionex will assist us in finalizing the development of the prototype, leading to optimized instruments for eventual sale to everyone and their aunt,” said Pappas. The company is also discussing licensing its technology to big pharma and large biotech companies that want to use the system in genomics, proteomics, and for other drug discovery applications.

These instruments consist of microtransponders, miniscule silicon integrated circuits, each of which transmits 50 bits of memory, and transmits radio signals through a wispy antenna when activated by light. Fluorescently tagged oligonucleotides, antibodies, or other probe molecules are covalently attached to microtransponders, then the target substance is added to them in a test tube. The mixture is then run through a flow cytometry-like device, which includes a laser that activates microtransponders as they go by, and records the unique signal of the transponder as well as whether or not the fluor is activated by hybridization or binding.

PharmaSeq is now looking for a partner to manufacture its devices, said Pappas. “We don’t want to become a manufacturing concern that has 50 people in the back with automatic screwdrivers because there are companies that do that right now and can do it more cost effectively.”Dionex, a pioneer in ion chromatography, is among prospective manufacturing, and even marketing, partners for PharmaSeq’s instruments, Pappas said.

“They are very interested in the technology because in their minds it is a platform technology utilizable in genomics, proteomics, combinatorial chemistry, and drug discovery,” said Pappas. “They want to increase their presence in the drug discovery arena.”

As PharmaSeq develops its system further, it may add about another half-dozen employees to its small core group of 13, said Pappas. These additional hires will be in business, engineering, and molecular biology.

The Scan

Unwrapping Mummies' Faces

LiveScience reports that Parabon NanoLabs researchers have reconstructed how three Egyptian mummies may have looked.

Study on Hold

The Spectrum 10K study has been put on hold due to a backlash, leading the researchers to conduct consultations with the autism community, Nature News reports.

Others Out There Already

Reuters reports that Sanofi is no longer developing an mRNA-based vaccine for SARS-CoV-2.

PNAS Papers on GWAS False Discovery, PRAMEF2 Role in Tumorigenesis, RNA Virus Reverse Genetics

In PNAS this week: strategy to account for GWAS false-discovery rates, role of PRAMEF2 in cancer development, and more.