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Caliper, EPA, Pfizer, GIBH, Promega, University of Southampton, Odyssey Thera

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Caliper To Screen Toxins For EPA’s ToxCast
 
Caliper Life Sciences this week announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a contract to NovaScreen Biosciences, the in vitro discovery services arm of Caliper Discovery Alliances and Services (CDAS), to assist the agency in developing new approaches to identify toxic environmental chemicals. (See Feature Story This Issue)
 
The contract award will range from $1.4 million to $6.9 million over the course of two to five years. The specific dollar value within this range will be based primarily upon the volume of testing requested by the EPA and the availability of funds for future years.
 
CDAS will leverage its screening tools and its proprietary Side-Effect Database to provide comprehensive laboratory testing and analysis services across a broad range of specific protein targets of interest to the EPA, Caliper said.
 
CDAS is the newly formed services organization created from the integration of NovaScreen Biosciences, a provider of in vitro discovery services, and Xenogen Biosciences, a provider of in vivo discovery services.
 

 
Caliper To Perform In Vivo Profiling For Pfizer
 
Caliper Life Sciences this week announced an agreement with Pfizer under which Caliper's Discovery Alliances and Services division will conduct certain in vivo profiling experiments for Pfizer. These will enable Pfizer to explore new indications for some compounds in its research and development pipeline.
 
Under the one-year contract, Caliper will use its in vivo compound profiling platform to study the effects of acute or chronic drug dosing in mice to try and uncover new uses for compounds already in development.
 
Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
 

 
GIBH To Profile Leads With Promega Asssays
 
Promega, a life sciences solutions and tech support company based in Madison, Wisc., this week announced a collaboration agreement with the Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
 
The agreement is designed to co-develop compound profiling solutions for small molecule and traditional Chinese medicine drug screening. GIBH scientists will offer contract services designed to profile the biology of potential leads using the Promega suite of biological drug screening assays.
 
Initial plans call for development of cytochrome p450, cytotoxicity, kinase, and GPCR profiling assays. GIBH will use the assays both in-house for its own discovery programs as well as offer them on a contract basis to outside companies.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
 

 
UK Groups Get $3.16M To Test Stem Cells
 
The University of Southampton, its biotechnology spin-out company Capsant Neurotechnologies, and King’s College, London announced this week that they have been awarded funding of £1.6 million ($3.16 million) over three years.
 
The grant will be used to explore ways of testing new drugs using human stem cells and progenitor cells. The techniques involve growing cells in three-dimensional cultures on a membrane, rather than as a flat carpet of cells on a plastic dish. 
 
Funding for the research includes a grant of £170,000 ($335,800) from the Department of Trade and Industry-led Technology Program, and funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
 
Lars Sundstrom, chief scientific officer of Capsant will lead the research. Neil Hanley, David Wilson, and William Gray from the Center for Human Development, Stem Cells and Regeneration at the University of Southampton, and Stephen Minger, director of the stem cell biology laboratory at King’s College, London, are collaborating on the research project.
 

 
Odyssey, Abbott Ink Third Funded Deal
 
Odyssey Thera this week announced its third collaboration with Abbott to apply its proprietary cellular analysis technologies to Abbott drug discovery projects.
 
Odyssey’s protein-fragment complementation assay technology measures pathway activity in living cells. By probing changes in the cellular biochemical networks, Odyssey said it can identify on-target and off-pathway activities of lead compounds.
 
Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

The Scan

US Supports Patent Waivers

NPR reports that the Biden Administration has announced its support for waiving intellectual property protections for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

Vaccines Versus Variants

Two studies find the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to be effective against viral variants, and Moderna reports on booster shots to combat variants.

CRISPR for What Ails You

The Wall Street Journal writes that CRISPR-based therapies could someday be used to treat common conditions like heart attacks.

Nature Papers Review Integration of Single-Cell Assay Data, Present Approach to Detect Rare Variants

In Nature this week: review of ways to integrate data from single-cell assays, and more.