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Perlegen Sciences, Max Planck, Salk Institute, Agilent Technologies, MOgene, Invitrogen, Gateway, Becton, Dickinson, Clontech, Craig Venter, ABI, ParAllele BioScience, Novartis, TIGR, Joint Genome Institute


Perlegen Gets $6 Million NHGRI Contract for HapMap Project

Perlegen Sciences has won a $6 million grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute to support the International HapMap Project, the company said last week.

Perlegen will use the funding to employ oligonucleotide arrays made by Affymetrix to genotype more than 2.3 million SNPs in 270 samples — or more than 600 million genotypes, or one cent per SNP — from four populations being studied by the HapMap Project.

Members of the HapMap Consortium are genotyping approximately 1 million SNPs in the 270 samples, or about 270 million genotypes.

In a statement, Perlegen said it will complete all of the genotyping “within one year or less.” The data will be made freely available to all researchers through dbSNP and the HapMap Data Coordination Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (

Perlegen Forges Research Collaboration with Max Planck, Salk Institute on Arabidopsis Thaliana

Perlegen Sciences said this week that it would collaborate with the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies on identifying DNA variation in twenty strains of the plant Arabadopsis thaliana.

The collaboration will utilize Perlegen’s high-throughput technology and expertise in SNP detection and variation analysis. The Max Planck Society will fund the collaboration, which the partners said is the first public, whole-genome study of intraspecies variation of the plant.

MOgene Becomes Certified Agilent Microarray Service Provider

Agilent Technologies has certified MOgene to become a microarray service provider — the second company in North America to receive this kind a certification, the companies said this week.

The certification validates MOgene’s “ability to provide ... microarray processing and data analysis services” using Agilent microarrays, the companies said.

MOgene launched its microarray services business in March, and has offered research services using Agilent custom and catalog microarrays to researchers at universities, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, and agrochemical companies.

Agilent certifies companies “once laboratory personnel complete a training program and the laboratory, as a whole, passes a rigorous set of assessments,” the companies said.

To be eligible, a service laboratory “must analyze Agilent 60-mer microarrays on the complete Agilent gene expression platform” — which comprises a microarray scanner, hybridization and labeling kits, feature extraction software, and one of the Rosetta gene expression data analysis systems.

Invitrogen Signs Three New Customers for Gateway Technology, Clones

Invitrogen said it will supply Gateway technology and clones to three genomic research centers in the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

Terms of the licensing agreements call for the company to offer the platform to Open Biosystems, a US-based distributor of genomic and proteomic research products; the UK Medical Research Council, a UK government-funded medical-research organization; and Ressourcenzentrum fur Genomforschung, a nonprofit German service center for genomics and proteomics research.

Invitrogen’s Gateway technology enables researchers to insert a single entry clone into as many expression vectors as needed to study its function in a variety of ways, according to a company statement.

Invitrogen said additional licensing agreements will be announced in the coming weeks. Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

BD to Sell Clontech, Buyer Unnamed

Becton, Dickinson plans to sell its Clontech business, the company said this week.

BD is taking this step because it wants to “focus its strategy on cell analysis, discovery labware, and its new platforms of imaging and in vitro drug metabolism/toxicity testing,” Edward Ludwig, chairman, president and CEO of BD, said in a statement.

The planned sale “also allows us to direct our resources toward higher-growth opportunities in the pharmaceutical drug discovery arena,” Ludwig added.

It was not immediately clear when BD planned to sell the unit, or whether it had a buyer.

BD estimates that the Palo Alto, Calif.-based unit will have generated approximately $60 million in revenues in fiscal 2004, which ends Sept. 30. BD also said the sale will cause it to record $125 million in pre-tax charges in its fiscal fourth quarter. Clontech’s fiscal 2005 financial results would have been comparable to fiscal 2004 results, BD said.

The company has hired Goldman Sachs to be its financial advisor for the divestiture.

BD will report its fiscal 2004 earnings in Nov. 4. Revenue for the three months ended June 30 were flat at $8 million year over year.

The planned sale comes two months after BD Biosciences, another Becton, Dickinson business division, bought Atto Bioscience in a cash transaction valued at approximately $25 million. Clontech is a unit within BD Biosciences.

Atto is a high-content cell analysis imaging tools developer with sales of $3 million in 2003. As BioArray News’ sister publication GenomeWeb News reported in July, BD is buying the firm with the goal of integrating Atto’s imaging platforms and BD’s flow cytometry tools, the company said.

Among Clontech’s products are its protein expression microarray, fluorescent labeling kits, cloning kits, and ELISA-based assays for DNA-transcription factor interaction studies.

Venter to Consolidate Three Non-Profits into Single Institute

Craig Venter last week announced that he would merge three non-profit research organizations that he currently directs into a single umbrella organization called the J. Craig Venter Institute.

The three organizations that will be merged include the Center for the Advancement of Genomics, the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives, and the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation Joint Technology Center. They were founded nearly three years ago and conduct basic science genomic research, high-throughput genomic sequencing, and genomic policy research.

“We did this so we could save some money and to make it easier to manage,” Venter told GenomeWeb News at TIGR’s annual GSAC meeting in Washington on September 27.

TIGR, which is an affiliated organization, will continue to receive support from the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation.

Among the research programs underway at the Venter Institute are a study of the genetic causes and potential genomic solutions to diseases such as cancer, which is led by Robert Strausberg. Hamilton Smith is leading a couple of research projects, including research on new methodologies to synthesize large segments of DNA to eventually enable the construction of whole artificial chromosomes, as well as the biological production of cleaner and more efficient fuel production, primarily hydrogen.

According to a statement issued by Venter, the three organizations have nearly 200 employees and a budget of more than $50 million.

ABI to cease distribution of HTS Biosystems’ SPR Array Platform

Applied Biosystems will no longer develop, service, or distribute HTS Biosystems’ surface plasmon resonance array platform, East Hartford, Conn.-based HTS said this week.

From now on, the platform, sold as the 8500 Affinity Chip Analyzer by ABI, will be marketed by HTS Biosystems as the Flexchip Kinetic Analysis System.

As a result of its ongoing business review, ABI decided to stop selling the instrument. “Although we have had a successful relationship with Applied Biosystems, we understand their future market emphasis, and agree that the Flexchip system’s success is best served through specific market focus by HTS,” said HTS CEO Gregory Freitag in a company statement.

The two companies first agreed to bring the instrument to market in 2002.

ParAllele to Genotype Heart Disease Patients for Novartis

ParAllele BioScience will genotype heart disease patients for Novartis Pharma, the South San Francisco-based company has announced.

Under the agreement, ParAllele will discover new SNPs in candidate genes provided by Novartis, using its Mismatch Repair Detection technology. These SNPs will then be profiled across a large population of coronary artery disease patients and matched controls to identify disease markers.

ParAllele will have the rights for diagnostic applications, while Novartis, which will pay for the study, plans to use the markers in drug discovery.

TIGR Researchers Develop Crop Expression Databases Under NSF Grant

Researchers at The Institute for Genomic Research in Rockville, Md., have developed databases for expression data for three crop species: potato, rice, and maize. Their efforts were funded by the National Science Foundation.

More information on the potato and maize projects can be found at and

TIGR expects all rice and maize expression data will be linked to the institute’s Rice Genome Annotation project (

Researchers Map Genome of Thalassiosira Pseudonana

Researchers announced the first genomic map of Thalassiosira pseudonana, an ocean-dwelling diatom. The research that yields this map was conducted by a team of more than 46 researchers from 26 institutions and appears in the Oct. 1 issue of Science.

The investigation, funded by the Department of Energy and conducted at its Joint Genome Institute in California, gives insight into how the diatom species Thalassiosira pseudonana functions in the marine environment, according to a statement.

The single-celled organisms generate as much as 40 percent of the 50 billion to 55 billion tons of organic carbon produced each year in the sea, and in the process use carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.

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.