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San Diego State University, Invitrogen, Pfizer, CardioDynamics, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association, Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, Nanogen


San Diego State Teams Up with Biotech to Create Life Sciences PHD-MBA Curriculum

San Diego State University, Invitrogen, Pfizer, and CardioDynamics are collaborating to establish a joint PhD-MBA program in the life sciences.

The aim is to educate students in scientific research as well as the business of biotechnology, the groups said. The program is poised to expand from a two-student pilot program that SDSU launched last September. SDSU offers the PhD part of the program in conjunction with the University of California, San Diego.

Invitrogen, Pfizer, and CardioDynamics are funding the startup phase of the program. In addition, Carlsbad, Calif.-based Invitrogen offers students lectures, case studies, and internships.

SDSU is seeking to raise additional funding for the program.

ALS Association Funds Biomarker Study

The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association announced last week that it will fund a one-year collaborative project to look for biomarkers and therapeutic targets for ALS using Ciphergen’s ProteinChip platform. The project will involve investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and North Carolina-based Metabalon, and is subject to renewal after the presentation of initial data.

Researchers will analyze blood and cerebrospinal fluid to look for protein and metabolite patterns indicative of the ALS disease state, using samples obtained from the Massachusetts and Pittsburgh hospitals.

Minnesota Group Wins Award to Combine Proteomics with MRI in Alzheimer’s Study

The Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics announced this week the awarding of its first four research grants, totaling $3 million, for applying various genomic and proteomic techniques to study cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and obesity. The partnership involves the Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota, and the Minnesota state government.

One of the award recipient groups, led by Joseph Poduslo of the Mayo Clinic and Michael Garwood of the University of Minnesota, will seek to develop an Alzheimer’s diagnostic by using proteomic techniques to develop a tagged probe that would stick to the amyloid plaques characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. The probe would then appear in MRI scans. The scientists hope to later develop a therapeutic based on this process as well.

Nanogen to Acquire Syn X Pharma in CA$16.3M Transaction

Nanogen plans to acquire Syn X Pharma in an all-stock transaction, the company said this week.

The transaction is valued at approximately CA$16.3 million ($12.3 million). Under the agreement, Nanogen will offer common shares to holders of Syn X common shares in a stock-for-stock exchange.

Nanogen plans to operate Toronto-based Syn X as a business unit under its current name and retain the company’s research facility. Nanogen said the acquisition will help it expand in the in vitro diagnostics market.


The Scan

Expanded Genetic Testing Uncovers Hereditary Cancer Risk in Significant Subset of Cancer Patients

In Genome Medicine, researchers found pathogenic or likely pathogenic hereditary cancer risk variants in close to 17 percent of the 17,523 patients profiled with expanded germline genetic testing.

Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy Embryos Appear Largely Normal in Single-Cell 'Omics Analyses

Embryos produced with spindle transfer-based mitochondrial replacement had delayed demethylation, but typical aneuploidy and transcriptome features in a PLOS Biology study.

Cancer Patients Report Quality of Life Benefits for Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Immune checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy was linked in JAMA Network Open to enhanced quality of life compared to other treatment types in cancer patients.

Researchers Compare WGS, Exome Sequencing-Based Mendelian Disease Diagnosis

Investigators find a diagnostic edge for whole-genome sequencing, while highlighting the cost advantages and improving diagnostic rate of exome sequencing in EJHG.