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In Brief This Week: Life Technologies; Roche; Integromics; Massachusetts Life Science Center

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Life Technologies this week disclosed some details of a collaboration that has received funding from the UK Technology Strategy Board, under a program that is providing about £6 million ($9.7 million) for R&D projects focused on tumor profiling and data capture.

Life Tech is working with the Oxford NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson's Ortho Biotech Oncology Research & Development unit to develop a commercial multi-gene next-generation sequencing test that will provide comprehensive molecular profiles of tumors. Life Tech said that the test, which will run on the Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine, will be made available to Cancer Research UK Stratified Medicine laboratories in early 2012 for comparison with existing testing methodologies.

Roche said this week that it has set up a new R&D institute in France as part of its Pharma Research and Early Development unit. The institute is dedicated to collaborative translational research and medicine and will build on strategic partnerships with French academic centers in areas of mutual interest.

In addition, Roche said that it is part of a consortium that aims to identify and characterize biomarkers for use in cellular models using repeated dose in vitro testing, in particular for use in the cosmetics field. The consortium is funded by the European Commission and the European Cosmetics Association and is using Roche's xCelligene RTCA System for real-time testing of effects in human cardiac cells for the studies.

Integromics has named the two winners of its Proteomics Mass Spectrometry Research Grant competition. Stephen pennington of University College Dublin and Michelle Cilia from the US Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service will each receive a free one-year license to Integromics' OmicsHub Proteomics platform.

The Massachusetts Life Science Center today announced that it has opened applications for its summer 2011 life sciences accelerator loan program, which provides working capital for early-stage life sciences companies. The applications are due by noon EST on Aug. 5, and are the first round of the FY2012 accelerator program. Among firms that have participated in the program in the past is Good Start Genetics, which is developing a sequencing-based genetic screening platform and pre-pregnancy diagnostic test.

The program offers up to $750,000 in loans. To date, it has awarded $9.2 million in debt financing to 16 companies in Massachusetts.