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Tm Bioscience, U. of Toronto, Biotique Systems, Affymetrix, Perlegen Sciences


Tm Bioscience, U. of Toronto Ally to Seek Genetic Test for Melanoma Predisposition

Universal array startup Tm Bioscience and University of Toronto researcher David Hogg last week announced a collaboration to develop a gene tic test for melanoma skin cancer predisposition.

A prototype test is anticipated to take 12 to 18 months to produce, the company said. The aim is to create a tool for genotyping, based on Tm Bioscience’s Tm 100 Universal Array platform, that will be used to screen for mutations and be validated against a library of clinical samples

“I think that it’s an exciting test for us to be developing with U of [Toronto] because I think there’s a clear medical need, it has the potential to be a very large market, and we believe the early detection of melanoma leads to much better outcomes,” said Jeremy Bridge-Cook, the company’s vice president of business development.

Bridge-Cook said the company plans to commercialize the test on its own, but that it may seek a larger partner to distribute and market it.

The Tm 100 array technology consists of 100 isothermal DNA tag-antitag pairs. The tags are each attached to a probe, and the anti-tags are each fixed to a fluorescent bead, provided by Tm’s partner, Luminex. The company also has developed a set of 1000 tag-antitag sets for its Tm 1000 Universal Array.

The company, based in Toronto, has become focused on applying its universal array technology to developing genetic tests.

In addition to the melanoma test, Tm is working on a CF test, as well as a thrombophilia panel that includes analysis of Factor V Leiden and prothrombin variants, and two variants of the MTHFR gene. The company is also working on a p450 genotyping product for the 2D6 gene, said Bridge-Cook.


Biotique Systems Sells Three Licenses, Enters Asia-Pacific Market

Biotique Systems of Emeryville, Calif., last week announced that Fujisawa Pharmaceutical, Ono Pharmaceutical, and Metabolex have signed annual software licenses for its BLIS technology, a data integration, analysis and visualization platform. Two of the licenses also represent Biotique’s entrée into the Asia-Pacific pharmaceuticals market: Fujisawa and Ono are based in Japan. Each of the three deals provides access to one of Biotique’s systems, which is scalable and can be linked to multiple-research sites.

Two weeks ago, Affymetrix chose Biotique’s system to house data from its human transcriptome project.


Affymetrix Convenes D.C. Symposium to Discuss Who Owns the Genome

Affymetrix and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars are sponsoring a symposium on law and genetics to be held in Washington, D.C., at the Wilson International Center on Sept. 24, 2002.

Eric Lander, Director of the Whitehead Center for Genome Research, and a group of lawyers from firms and academia will participate in a panel discussion titled “The Genetic Age: Who Owns the Genome?” Joining Lander are: Q. Todd Dickinson, a partner in the firm Howrey Simon Arnold & White and former undersecretary of the Patent and Trademark Office; Pilar Ossorio, assistant professor of law and medical ethics at the University of Wisconsin; and Scott Brown, chief patent counsel, Millennium Pharmaceuticals.

The program will be webcast live at 7 p.m. EDT at and will be archived for replay. Viewers will be able to e-mail questions for the panel to consider.


Perlegen Sciences Develops Massively Parallel Genotyping Platform

Perlegen Sciences announced last week that it has started broad scale genome scanning studies using a high-density oligonucleotide array-based genotyping platform to analyze SNPs. “We have already begun comparing the allele frequencies of over a million unique SNPs in DNA samples of cases and controls to discover targets in common diseases such as heart disease or diabetes, and to identify genetic markers that predict drug responses,” David Cox, chief scientific officer of Perlegen, said in a statement.

This effort will build on the company’s SNP discovery efforts across the human genome and the research published in the November 2001 issue of Science that reported variation data in both coding and non-coding regions from sequencing multiple copies of chromosome 21. Perlegen, of Mountain View, Calif., is a spin-off of Affymetrix.

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