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Sunergia Group, Aviva Biosciences, Center for Functional Analysis of the Human Genome, BioProcessors, Nuvelo

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On the 50th Anniversary, a game

A Reston, Va., company, Sunergia Group, has introduced a board game for children, “Metanon: The Biocode Adventure.” The game, which sells for $36.99, uses pieces that children can compile in different combinations to learn how DNA works.

Sunergia Medical is a genomics/proteomics instrumentation distribution company. The game was developed by Ksero Corp., a Richmond, Va., startup co-founded by Donald Abraham, chairman of medicinal chemistry and director of the institute for structural biology and drug discovery at Virginia Commonwealth University.

 

Aviva Biosciences Opens New Headquarters

Aviva Biosciences has opened its corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities.

The firm’s headquarters is located at 11190 Roselle St. in San Diego and occupies 15,000 square feet. The manufacturing area, which occupies another 2,000 square feet, will turn out the company’s first product, the SealChip, an ion channel patch clamp chip for use with the Axon Instruments drug discovery system.

 

South Korea to Create Gene Bank

The Center for Functional Analysis of the Human Genome of South Korea last week said in March it would make available an online gene bank to provide human and mouse genes free of charge to Korean researchers, according to report in the publication, Asia Pulse.

The center, part of the South Korea Ministry of Science and Technology, will provide sequence information on 34,000 human genes, including 10,000 full-length genes discovered by South Korean researchers, and 78,000 human and mouse genes from NCI and NIMH. The gene bank will be available at www.ncgi.re.kr

The center in August announced the discovery of some 30,000 genes based on analysis of stomach and liver tissues from normal patients and patients with cancer. The center is using the information to develop microarrays for gene expression analysis.

 

BioProcessors to Acquire Arradial

BioProcessors of Woburn, Mass., has purchased Arradial of Bedford, Mass., in a deal involving two companies in the portfolio of venture capital firm Oxford Bioscience Partners.

The deal, according to reports in the publication, Mass High Tech, was a stock and cash transaction.

Arradial develops a microfluidics platform and targets drug discovery.

The company is based on a silicon-chip technology developed by Boston University researcher Samesh Kale while on sabbatical and working at Arradial Pharmaceuticals.

Arradial, spun out of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, raised $7.2 million, including a March 2002 sale of $3 million in convertible securities to Oxford Bioscience Partners. The Massachusetts venture capital firm, along with the Boston University Community Technology Fund, had previously purchased $1 million in convertible securities from the firm in December 2001. The two had provided $2.1 million of seed-stage funding to the company in November 2000.

Oxford Bioscience has invested $4.1 million in two rounds in BioProcessors, which produces bioanalytical products for living cell research.

 

Nuvelo Revenues Fall, Company WILL ‘Monetize’ Its Microarray Business

Nuvelo, the company formed by the merger of Hyseq and Variagenics — reported a drop in revenues for the fourth quarter of 2002 this week, along with a decrease in R&D spending and widening net loss.

Revenues for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2002, were $3.5 million, approximately half the $7.1 million reported for the year-ago period. R&D spending fell from $15 million to $9.3 million year-over-year. Nuvelo posted a net loss of $16.5 million for the quarter, or $0.72 per share, compared to a net loss of $11.4 million, or $0.61 per share, for the same period in 2001.

The company said it had approximately $2.2 million in “unrestricted” cash as of Dec. 31, down from approximately $12.3 million at the end of 2001.

Nuvelo also said that as of the close of the fourth quarter, it had $10 million available through a line of credit from George Rathmann, chairman of Nuvelo's board of directors.

Additional cash from the merger with Variagenics brought Nuvelo's cash holdings up to $53.2 million as of Jan. 31, the date at which the merger closed.

The company also said that after the “careful review” of all assets and programs at Hyseq and Variagenics following the merger, the combined entity plans to tighten its focus on biopharmaceutical discovery and development, and “monetize non-core assets” — including its microarray business, pharmacogenomics technology, and molecular diagnostics programs — to further support its new focus on development programs.

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.