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MSD, Shanghai Biochip, Illumina, J&J, Integromics, Affymetrix, Agendia, QBI, GWC Tech


MSD, Shanghai Biochip to Collaborate in Oncology Research Program

Merck Sharp & Dohme, known as Merck & Co. in the US, and Shanghai Biochip Corp. last week said that they will collaborate in an oncology research program using SBC's microarray-based gene expression profiling technology.

Under the agreement, MSD will provide specimen samples, expertise, financial and technical support, and will train SBC personnel at MSD facilities.

Stephen Friend, executive vice president at Merck Research Laboratories, said in a statement that MSD "has accumulated a lot of know-how and experience in applying gene expression profiling to drug discovery and other clinical applications."

"Together, [with SBC] we can combine our strengths and advance the treatment of cancer," in China, Friend said.

Hua Yuda, SBC's chairman and president, said the agreement will "help move China's gene expression profiling research to more advanced levels." It will also have a positive influence on advancing the research standards of China's healthcare industry," he said.

Financial details of the agreement were not discussed. Neither Merck nor Shanghai Biochip could be reached for further comment.

Illumina Pens SNP-Genotyping Deal With J&J's R&D Group

Illumina last week said it will develop custom SNP content for a multi-sample Sentrix BeadChip for Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development.

The BeadChip platform enables researchers to analyze 12 samples and as many as 60,000 SNPs per sample on a single BeadChip. Illumina expects to use its Infinium assay to genotype "thousands" of samples provided by J&JPRD.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Integromics' ArrayHub Receives Affymetrix Gene-Chip Compatible Status

Integromics, a Spanish bioinformatics provider, said this week that its flagship data management and analysis system, ArrayHub, has achieved Affymetrix GeneChip-compatible status and that it has joined Affymetrix GeneChip-compatible applications program.

Affy launched the program, in which it co-promotes applications that are technically compatible with its microarray platform, in September 2005 (see BAN 9/14/2005).

ArrayHub enables scientists to store, organize, and analyze data from microarray experiments, Integromics said.

Agendia Receives CE Mark for CupPrint

Agendia's CupPrint microarray service has acquired Medical Device registration at the Dutch Healthcare Inspectorate, the company said this week.

Agendia received CE registration for MammaPrint, a test for screening breast cancer patients for the likelihood of recurrence, in 2005. CupPrint is a test for cancer-of-unknown-primary patients.

According to Agendia, CupPrint can assist in identifying the primary tumor site, which can support the doctor in deciding on the optimal treatment of the patient. The test is available in Europe through Agendia's sales network.

Laura van 't Veer, chief of operations at Agendia, said in a statement that with the CE registration of both its products and the ISO 17025 accreditation of its laboratory services, Agendia can market its products and "provide a legal basis for its use in clinical practice."

QBI, GWC Tech to Use $130K NIH Grant to Develop SPRi Array

QBI Life Sciences, a division of Quintessence Biosciences, has received a $130,000 Phase I award from the National Institutes of Health to create absorption profiles for early drug-stage candidates, QBI said this week.

The company will be developing a surface plasmon resonance imaging (SPRi)-based microarray assay together with GWC Technologies. QBI will contribute its PreserveX Polymeric Micelles, which extract proteins and lipids and immobilize them in SPRi sensors, while GWC will add its SpotReady SPRi biosensor chips to analyze multiple levels of the components and their drug attachment, according to the statement.

Vladimir Trubetskoy, director of polymer chemistry for QBI Life Sciences, said the chips "will enable researchers to predict absorption of drugs quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively."

The Scan

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.

Study Explores Animated Digital Message Approach to Communicate Genetic Test Results to Family Members

In the Journal of Genetic Counseling, the approach showed promise in participants presented with a hypothetical scenario related to a familial hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome diagnosis.

Computational Tool Predicts Mammalian Messenger RNA Degradation Rates

A tool called Saluki, trained with mouse and human messenger RNA data, appears to improve mRNA half-life predictions by taking RNA and genetic features into account, a Genome Biology paper reports.

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.