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Space Life Sciences, Parcelsian, DR. Chip Biotech, Evotec OAI, FY 2004, 3rd Millennium


Space Life Sciences Services Company Optimistic On Future of Shuttle Research

The company preparing microarray-related payloads for use in research projects onboard the space shuttles told BioArray News that it is optimistic about the resumption of shuttle missions after the loss of the orbiter Columbia and its crew of seven on Saturday.

How long that will be, however, is unknown, said Rich Boling, spokesman for Space Hardware Optimization Technology (SHOT) of Greenville, Ind., the company whose chief scientist, Paul Todd, was featured in a Lab Report article in the Jan. 23, 2003 BioArray News. SHOT, a 15-employee company, is a NASA partner, selling services and creating miniature laboratories for space life sciences research projects.

Reached Monday, Boling said he had no definitive word from NASA but said the company is pressing on in preparation for the next mission. “We feel it is best to be ready whenever they start flying again,” he said.

The 15-year-old company has close ties to the shuttle program, training a number of astronauts how to use its equipment including David Brown, one of the Columbia crewmembers who died Saturday.

“He was more than just an astronaut,” said Biling. “All of them have been like him, very bright, very humble, and very brave. We are doing what we feel like Dr. Brown and the others would do, to press on in the pursuit of science.”


Parcelsian Licenses ImmunoAssay To DR Chip Biotech of Taiwan

Ithaca, NY, based-Paracelsian last week announced it had licensed its AH-immunoassay to DR. Chip Biotech of Taiwan for sale in China, and Southeast Asia.

Financial details were not disclosed. The two companies also announced plans to establish a joint venture to manufacture test kits and services.

Paracelsian develops bioassay testing kits to monitor and determine the presence of environmental toxins, the quality of herbal products, and the composition of therapeutic components in herbal supplements. the AH-Immunoassay is an environmental toxic-screening kit created from technology licensed from Cornell University. DR. Chip Biotech develops biomedical devices and instruments for clinical diagnosis.


Evotec and Psychiatric Genomics to Collaborate On Drug Discovery

Evotec OAI of Hamburg, Germany, and Oxford, UK, and Psychiatric Genomics of Gaithersburg, Md., a company using microarray technology to analyze post-mortem human brain samples, last week announced a three-year agreement to collaborate on drug discovery for the treatment of psychiatric diseases. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Evotec is a services company collaborating with companies within the investment portfolio of Oxford Biosciences Partners, a private equity firm. It will provide ADME/Tox profiling to create a library of promising compounds.

Psychiatric Genomics, with $17 million in venture capital from Catalytix, a Cayman Islands investment fund, as well as Stanley Medical Research Institute, Oxford Bioscience Partners, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, and others, recently downsized, cutting half its staff, 20 employees, two weeks ago, according to news reports.


FY 2004 Budget Proposes 2 Percent NIH Funds Increase

The president’s budget for FY 2004 calls for a 2 percent increase and a total budget of $27.9 million for the National Institutes of Health, ending a string of five years where budget increases averaged $13 million.

The president spoke at the NIH campus on Monday, asking Congress to allocate $890 million next year for Project Bioshield, a $6 billion, 10-year program aimed developing new treatments for biological weapons such as anthrax, Ebola, and plague.

The National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation are operating at FY 2002 levels, authorized by Congress through continuing resolutions as a conference committee seeks to work out differences between House and Senate versions of the ‘03 budget that was to have started Oct. 1.

Meantime, the FY 2004 budget begins its budgetary process. The continuing resolution, a Congressional tool that allows money to be spent, is set to expire on Feb. 7, after being reauthorized from its previous sunset date of Jan. 31.


3rd Millennium Collects $730K in SBIR Funds

3rd Millennium of Cambridge, Mass., a bioinformatics developer, last week announced a $730,000 Phase II SBIR contract from the Department of Defense for a microarray information system to support infectious disease research by the US Army. The application will integrate databases, LIMS, and analysis tools.

The Scan

Cell Atlas of Human Lung Development Gives View of Developing Airway

Researchers have generated a cell atlas of human lung development, which they report in Cell.

Study Finds Costs of Genome Sequencing May Limit Utility in Routine Care

Researchers report in the European Journal of Human Genetics that genome sequencing for rare disease diagnoses currently has similar benefits as less expensive exome analysis.

Study Suggests Nursing Mother's Diet Can Impact Offspring's Gut Microbiome

A new Cell Host and Microbe paper finds that mice whose mothers were fed a low-fiber diet during nursing experience lasting microbiota dysbiosis and increased obesity.

Study Links Genetic Risk for ADHD With Alzheimer's Disease

A higher polygenic risk score for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is also linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, a new study in Molecular Psychiatry finds.