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Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 2, Illumina, Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, Affymetrix, GWC Technologies, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Golden Helix, Imperial College London, University of Edinburgh, University of Alabama-Birmingham, Univ

Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium to Use Illumina BeadChips to Study 90K Samples
Scientists in the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 2 will use Illumina’s Infinium HD BeadChips in a large-scale project to identify genetic variants linked to a number of diseases, including multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, and asthma, the company said this week.
Illumina said the Wellcome Trust-funded initiative, which comprises the WTCCC2 and 12 independent consortia, will analyze 90,000 DNA samples for both SNPs and copy number variants.
The company said that the proposed series of genome-wide association studies is “collectively the world's largest genetic research initiative conducted to date.”
In addition to the 90,000 samples collected from study participants, the researchers will collect 6,000 control samples that will be analyzed using Illumina's Infinium HD Human1M-Duo BeadChip.
Researchers involved in the initiative expect to generate 120 billion pieces of genetic data over the coming two years, the company said.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

German Researchers Using Affymetrix Tech for Liver Toxicity Dx
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany are using Affymetrix’s Whole Transcript gene expression technology to develop a diagnostic test to detect drug-induced liver toxicity, the company said last week.
Drug-induced liver toxicity is a common side effect of drug therapies and is “the most frequent reason why registered drugs are withdrawn from the market,” Affy said.
There is now “no reliable method to forecast the progression of various types of DILT,” and a tool that could be used to detect these could save around $2 billion per year in the US, Affy added.
The study is being led by professor Juergen Borlak, director of the Fraunhofer Institute of Toxicology and Experimental Medicine and head of the Institute of Pharmaco- and Toxicogenomics at the Hannover Medical School.
The Hannover Medical School is the largest liver transplant center in Europe, Affy said.
The company said the institute hopes to have a diagnostic tool ready for launch in the spring of 2009.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

GWC Licenses Surface Technology from WARF
The proteomics toolmaker GWC Technologies has licensed technology from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation that it plans to use in its imaging systems, the company said last week.
Under the agreement, GWC has taken an exclusive license to WARF’s carbon-on-metal surface technology, which the company said will allow its imaging systems to generate data more reliably.
WARF is the intellectual property arm of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“Carbon-on-metal surfaces, in conjunction with GWC’s label-free array systems, enhance the quality of information that can be obtained in studies of protein function,” University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Lloyd Smith said in a statement.
Stephen Weibel, GWC’s director of engineering, said the new surface technology “allows the development of biochips and chemical sensors for use in medical diagnostics, environmental testing, and agriculture and food monitoring.”
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Golden Helix Adds New CNV Analysis Collaborators
Genetic-association software maker Golden Helix has expanded its collaboration program for copy number variation analysis research to include five new academic partners, the company said last week.
Golden Helix said it has agreed to provide data processing, quality control analysis, and consulting services in exchange for the purchase of its software and feedback on its products and services.
The new collaborators working with the company include Imperial College London, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University Hospital of Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel, Germany, and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
The company launched the collaboration program in January. Initial partners included researchers from the University of California Los Angeles, the Zucker Hillside Hospital, Montreal Heart Institute, Emory University, Case Western Reserve University, and the University at Lubeck, Germany.
"Copy number analysis is an exciting area of research because of its potential impact on how we understand and treat disease," Golden Helix CEO Christophe Lambert said in a statement. “Collaborating with these leading institutions will be invaluable for helping develop and improve the analytic methods needed to advance this field.”
These collaborations will cover a number of diseases and sample characteristics and data generated from Illumina and Affymetrix genotyping platforms, said Golden Helix.

VTT of Finland Licenses GeneGo's Software for Cancer Studies
GeneGo said last week that the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, a developer of novel high-throughput methods for cancer research, drug discovery, and diagnostics, has licensed the company’s software suite.
Under the agreement, VTT will use the MetaCore and MetaDrug software in compound screening, RNA interference experiments, cell biology, and bioinformatics projects to identify pathways and networks for cancer research projects.
These projects include studies of the mechanisms of cancer development and progression, therapeutics research, and the actions of anti-cancer compounds.
VTT’s Medical Biotechnology Knowledge Centre is funded by the European Commission and the Academy of Finland.

Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

The Scan

Study Finds Sorghum Genetic Loci Influencing Composition, Function of Human Gut Microbes

Focusing on microbes found in the human gut microbiome, researchers in Nature Communications identified 10 sorghum loci that appear to influence the microbial taxa or microbial metabolite features.

Treatment Costs May Not Coincide With R&D Investment, Study Suggests

Researchers in JAMA Network Open did not find an association between ultimate treatment costs and investments in a drug when they analyzed available data on 60 approved drugs.

Sleep-Related Variants Show Low Penetrance in Large Population Analysis

A limited number of variants had documented sleep effects in an investigation in PLOS Genetics of 10 genes with reported sleep ties in nearly 192,000 participants in four population studies.

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.