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TIGR, Rheoscience, Global Genomics, NHLBI, Qiagen, Molecular Staging, National Sciences Foundation, Sequenom

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TIGR on Track to Release B. Anthracis GeneChip in 2005

The Institute for Genomic Research and Affymetrix are one step closer to finishing a GeneChip that may help scientists identify differences in closely related strains of Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium responsible for anthrax, according to TIGR director Claire Fraser.

Fraser, speaking at the 16th Genome Sequencing and Analysis Conference in Washington, D.C., this week, said researchers at TIGR and Affy have recently completed developing a 500,000-spot array that contains more than 3,400 SNPs.

Fraser told BioArray News’ sister publication GenomeWeb News that TIGR is on track to offer a final version of the chip to investigators sometime in 2005 that is based on the genomes of at least 14 strains of B. anthracis.

“There is still a bit more validation to do on the 14 strains,” said Fraser. “We are still working on some technical aspects.”

Since TIGR is a non-profit organization, it will not commercialize the chip in the traditional sense. However, Fraser said TIGR may opt to sell a number of the GeneChips to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. This option would mirror a recent deal in which TIGR agreed to sell to NIAID a number of SARS chips.


Rheoscience Licenses Gene Expression Technology

Global Genomics last week said that Danish biotech company Rheoscience will use its tangerine gene expression profiling technology to study targets in metabolic diseases.

Global Genomics is based in Stockholm, Sweden. The tangerine technology is based on PCR, capillary electrophoresis, proprietary databases, and algorithms that generate gene expression profiles.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.


NHLBI Licenses Partek Software

Partek said this week that the National Health, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health has taken a license to the company’s Partek Pro data analysis and mining software.

According to Partek, the licenses will be used at the institute’s bioinformatics core facility.

Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Qiagen acquires Molecular Staging’s Amplification Technology for $28.5 Million

Qiagen this week announced it has acquired technology assets from Molecular Staging, including the company’s whole-genome amplification and rolling-circle amplification technologies, for $28.5 million.

Under the terms of the agreement, Qiagen purchased the technology assets of MSI, including more than 160 applied or issued patents, for $28.5 million in cash plus potential earn-outs of up to $6.75 million.

Qiagen said it expects to incur one-time charges relating to the acquisition of around $2 million in the third quarter of 2004, and that it expects the acquisition to add approximately $6 million in net sales and $1 million in net income in 2005.

The company said it plans to launch a series of kits integrating the WGA technology with its own nucleic acid products by early 2005. Molecular Staging’s WGA activities will be integrated into Qiagen’s operations in Germantown, Md., and Hilden, Germany.


NSF Awards $67 Million to 22 Plant Genome Research Projects

The National Sciences Foundation has awarded 22 new grants, totaling $67 million, under its Plant Genome Research Program.

The new two-year to five-year awards represent the majority of the program’s funding activities this year under a $90 million 2004 budget, an NSF program officer told BioArray News’ sister publication GenomeWeb News.

The 2004 awards focus in three areas: detailed analysis of plant and plant family genomes, functional genomics of plants, and databases and tools to share and analyze plant genomics data.

Researchers at 56 institutions in 22 states and collaborators from 14 countries are involved in the projects.


Sequenom Launches MassArray Assay Design and Validation Services

Sequenom is offering a new assay development and validation service for its MassArray platform, the company said last week.

Customers of the company’s MassArray system can submit data for a customized assay through a website and are promised to obtain a validated assay within 12 business days.

Sequenom hopes the new service will create a new consumables revenue stream and long-term customer relationships.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.