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CalciMedica, ITI Life Sciences, Dundee University, NIH, NHGRI, Invitrogen, Cytori

CalciMedica Gets Torrey Pines STIM1 IP
TorreyPines Therapeutics this week announced that it has agreed to sell some of its intellectual property and equipment to CalciMedica, a La Jolla, Calif-based biotech focused on developing therapies for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
The IP includes a patent application describing assays and uses of STIM1 for regulating calcium-release activated calcium channels. In exchange, TorreyPines will receive CalciMedica common stock, potential future sublicensing fees, milestone and royalty payments. Further financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

ITI Reaches Milestone, So Dundee U Joins Stem Cell Program
ITI Life Sciences this week announced that it has reached the first technical milestone in its Stem Cell Technologies R&D program. As a result, Dundee University in Scotland has joined the £9.5 million ($18.9 million) program, which began in January 2007.
The initial phase of the program focused on identifying optimal conditions under which human embryonic stem cells can be screened for their ability to differentiate into specific cells. Having identified these conditions, ITI Life Sciences is now in a position to use Dundee University’s complementary hESC screening technology.
Dundee University will join the program’s other research providers, Göteberg Sweden-based biotech Cellartis and the University of Glasgow, in a collaborative effort to develop technologies that will enable automated processes to produce high volumes of high-quality human stem cells.

NIH and NHGRI Seek Applicants for Screening and Probe Centers
The National Institute of Mental Health and the National Human Genome Research Institute this week announced that they are soliciting pre-applications for three types of screening and chemical probe generation centers.
These centers will have complementary capabilities and a high degree of flexibility to address a wide range of biological targets and phenotypes in the production phase of the Molecular Libraries Program.
The application process has two steps. Interested investigators must first submit the pre-application to become a Molecular Libraries Probe Production Center. Pre-applications are a necessary first step in order to be invited to submit a full application to a subsequent RFA in the second step of the application process.
The pre-application process is not restricted to the centers that currently comprise the MLSCN. Applicants may submit a pre-application to become a Comprehensive Screening Center, a Specialized Screening Center, or a Specialized Chemistry Center.
The anticipated submission date for the full application is Jan. 4, 2008.
The NIH Roadmap expects to commit approximately $70 million per year to support the MLPCN beginning in July 2008. The MLP anticipates funding six to 10 centers. Foreign institutions are not eligible to apply to become an MLPCN center.

Invitrogen and Cytori to Offer Fat-Derived Stem Cell Products
Invitrogen and Cytori Therapeutics, a stem and regenerative cell therapies company, this week announced that they have entered into a global strategic supply and commercialization agreement.
Through this agreement, they will offer adipose-derived stem cell-based research products to life science researchers worldwide.
Invitrogen will offer San Diego-based Cytori's stem cell products to broaden the understanding of adult stem cells and to discover and accelerate development of preclinical applications for adipose derived stem cells.
Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

The Scan

Gene Linked to Alkaline Sensitivity in Plants Identified

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science have found a locus affecting alkaline-salinity sensitivity, which could aid in efforts to improve crop productivity, as they report in Science.

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.

Study Presents New Insights Into How Cancer Cells Overcome Telomere Shortening

Researchers report in Nucleic Acids Research that ATRX-deficient cancer cells have increased activity of the alternative lengthening of telomeres pathway.

Researchers Link Telomere Length With Alzheimer's Disease

Within UK Biobank participants, longer leukocyte telomere length is associated with a reduced risk of dementia, according to a new study in PLOS One.