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In Brief This Week: ACLU, Myriad Genetics; Thermo Fisher Scientific, Princeton Security; EMBL-EBI; Protea Biosciences; SG Biofuels

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation said today that they have filed a brief with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, or CAFC, in the ongoing case challenging Myriad Genetics' gene patents.

The CAFC decided last year that Myriad's patents related to the isolated sequences in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are valid, but after that ruling was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, the high court sent the case back to the CAFC to be reconsidered in light its recent ruling to invalidate patents held by Prometheus Laboratories.

This lawsuit in question, filed by the Association for Molecular Patholgoy against Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation, charges that patents on these genes are invalid because they are "products of nature," and because they are restricting access to these genes by researchers and the public.

Oral arguments for the case in the CAFC are set for July 20.

Princeton Security said this week it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific for $13 million. Thermo Fisher will pay $.89 per share in the all-cash deal. Based in Princeton, N.J., Princeton Security develops detector products, including X-ray and gamma ray detectors, spectroscopy systems, and radioisotope identifier products. It said that a wholly owned Thermo Fisher subsidiary will merge with Princeton Security upon completion of the deal, expected in July. Princeton Security will be the surviving company.

Ground was broken this week at the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus in Hinxton, UK for a new building as part of the expansion of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute and in support of its role in the European Life-science Infrastructure for Biological Information (ELIXIR), a research infrastructure for life science data. The new facility was made possible with a £75 million ($117.4 million) grant from the UK government.

Protea Biosciences Group has open a dedicated demonstration and training center for its Laser Ablation Electrospray Ionization DP-1000 system. The facility is located at Protea's headquarters in Morgantown, W.Va. and uses mass spectrometers that interface with the LAESI DP-1000 platform.

SG Biofuels has moved into a new 60,000-square-foot facility combining its corporate offices and laboratory in San Diego. The space support the company's commercialization efforts, including ramping seed production and the deployment of additional JMax Knowledge Centers in Brazil and India. The new research center also houses a tissue culture facility where Jatropha transformation and plant regeneration technologies are being developed, a spokesperson for SB Biofuels said.

In Brief This Week is a Friday column containing news items that our readers may have missed during the week.

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.