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US Gov t , Schott, Signature Genomic, Affy, Pfizer, DiaGenic, Precision Biomarker

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US Gov't Awards Schott $1M to Develop Microarray Platform for Pathogen Detection

The US government has allotted $1 million of its defense appropriations bill to Schott North America to develop a microarray-based platform for detecting biological agents, Schott said recently.

According to Duryea, Penn.-based Schott NA, the funding was secured through the offices of Congressman Paul Kanjorksi (D-Penn.). Schott will collaborate with the University of Scranton's Institute of Molecular Biology and Medicine to develop the fully automated and multiplexed microarray platform, the company said.

The new platform would be a 96-well microarray, with the potential to screen for up to 2,000 pathogens in each well, Schott said.


Signature Genomic Licenses Affy Patents for Comparative Genomics Studies

Signature Genomic Laboratories has licensed an undisclosed number of Affymetrix patents related to the use of microarrays for comparative genomic hybridization studies, Signature said this week.

The license will be applied to Signature Genomic's SignatureChip microarray-based diagnostics for cytogenic abnormalities, the company said.

Lisa Shaffer, acting CEO and laboratory director of Signature Genomic Labs, said that the license from Affymetrix will provide Signature with "the ability to increase the genomic coverage of [its] microarray."

Additional details of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.


Pfizer and Affy to Play Role in Two NIH Initiatives

The National Institutes of Health will funnel the $68 million allocated in President Bush's proposed 2007 budget for genetic research into a Genes and Environment Initiative, employing SNP analysis and technology development to understand the causes of common diseases, US Health and Human Services announced last week.

In addition, HHS, which oversees the NIH, said it was launching a public-private partnership called the Genetic Association Information Network to accelerate genome association studies. Entities in the partnership are NIH, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, Pfizer, and Affymetrix.

GEI

If approved by Congress, the federal funding would begin in FY 2007 and continue for multiple years, HHS said. Of the first year's funding, $26 million will go to genetic analysis and $14 million for the development of tools to measure environmental exposures affecting health.

Genotyping studies performed as part of the initiative will be done for several dozen common diseases to be selected by peer review. The genotyping, which will begin in FY 2007, will be managed by an NIH coordinating committee under the usual government rules, subject to competition between research facilities.

GAIN

The primary private-sector contributor to the GAIN partnership is Pfizer, which has donated $5 million to set up the project's management structure and committed $15 million worth of laboratory studies to determine the genetic contributions to five common diseases. Affymetrix will contribute lab resources for two additional diseases, expected to cost about $3 million each, said HHR.

Genotyping supported by Pfizer and donated to the GAIN project will be produced by Perlegen and will start in late summer 2006, according to the statement. A similar arrangement will be worked out with Affymetrix.

The GAIN initiative proposes to raise $60 million in private funding for additional genetic studies of common diseases and is actively seeking additional partners.

Investigators may submit applications to have genotyping performed on existing DNA samples from patients with specific diseases and control individuals in case-control studies.

GAIN will be an FNIH-managed partnership that includes NIH, industry, foundations, individuals, and advocacy groups. Governance will include executive committee, a steering committee, and peer review and data access committees.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information at NIH will develop databases to manage the genetic, medical and environmental information resulting from these initiatives. All data will be placed in the public domain.


Study Reconfirms DiaGenic's Testing Method for Alzheimer's Disease

DiaGenic, a Norwegian life sciences company, said this week that a second study has confirmed its method for detecting Alzheimer's disease. DiaGenic has been using peripheral blood samples to develop gene expression signatures for a potential test, the company said.

The company first announced findings from its pilot study in connection with the International Psychogeriatric Association's 12th Congress in September 2005 (seeBAN 9/28/2005).

DiaGenic's Alzheimer's work has now been reconfirmed with a larger study using Applied Biosystem's array platform at the IMGM Laboratories in Germany. DiaGenic has been working with ABI and IMGM since last summer (see BAN 8/17/2005).

Praveen Sharma, director of technology at DiaGenic, said the company now expects to move "towards the development of a blood-based Alzheimer's test."

The company expects to develop a product prototype for its blood-based Alzheimer's test this year.


Precision Biomarker to Use Stone Bond's Enterprise Enabler LIMS

Stone Bond Technologies said last week that Precision Biomarker Resources has purchased its Enterprise Enabler Laboratory Information Management System.

Precision, a contract research, will use EE-LIMS for order tracking and data management of its Affymetrix processing and data analysis services, Stone Bond said.

The upgrade will enable Precision Biomarker to automate its operating processes including study and research project data and integrate sample data into the Affymetrix's GeneChip Operating System so that DAT, CEL, CHP and RPT output files will be automatically delivered to either the data analysis team or directly to the client, according to Stone Bond.

The Scan

Response Too Slow, Cautious

A new report criticizes the global response to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nature News reports.

Pushed a Bit Later

Novavax has pushed back its timeline for filing for authorization for its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, according to Bloomberg.

AMA Announces Anti-Racism Effort

The Associated Press reports that the American Medical Association has released a plan to address systemic racism in healthcare.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on miRMaster 2.0, MutationTaster2021, LipidSuite

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: tool to examine small non-coding RNAs, approach to predict ramifications of DNA variants, and more.