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Cenix and Instituto de Medicina Molecular, AstraZeneca and Cellectricon, Kreatech Biotechnology and Ambion, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tokyo

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Cenix, IMM Develop RNAi Screen for Malaria; Seek Funding for Larger Assay

Researchers at the Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Lisbon, Portugal, and Cenix Bioscience hjave developed an RNAi screen for malaria genes that may lead to better anti-malarial therapeutics, IMM and Cenix said last week in a statement.

The screen is based on an in vitro assay developed by Maria Mota's lab at IMM that monitors the response of human liver cells to malaria infection. Dresden, Germany-based Cenix adapted Mota's assay for high-throughput RNAi screening, and a pilot study using the screen has been completed.

According to the two partners, a larger screen is now underway that "will cover over 800 human genes including all known kinases, key regulators of nearly all cellular pathways." They are also seeking additional funding to expand the capabilities of the assay, they said.


AstraZeneca Installs Several Cellectricon Ion Channel Screening Platforms

AstraZeneca has installed several of Cellectricon's DynaFlow ion channel screening platforms worldwide, Cellectricon said last week.

CBA News reported in June 2004 that AstraZeneca had decided to use DynaFlow in its ion channel drug-discovery program. Cellectricon said today that AstraZeneca has placed multiple orders for DynaFlow systems since that time.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

DynaFlow is based on a computer-controlled microfluidic chip, and is designed to be used with any cell, patch-clamp configuration, active substance, and ion channel, Cellectricon said.


Kreatech, Ambion Combine Platforms in New Gene-Expression Kit

Kreatech Biotechnology will combine Ambion's MessageAmpTM II aRNA-amplification system with its own Universal Linkage labeling technology as part of a kit for gene-expression analysis, the company said last week.

The kit will include a variety of fluorescent dyes, including GE Healthcare's CyDyes, Perkin Elmer's Cyanine Dyes, and Dyomics' DY Dyes. Kreatech will also enclose a biotin labeling system that is suited for Affymetrix's GeneChips.

Costs or financial terms were not disclosed.


Tokyo-Based Institute Develops Light-Based Cell-Separation Method

The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tokyo announced last week that its Research Center for Advanced Bionics has developed a new cell-separation method.

Specifically, the center has developed a photosensitive base material for cell culture that either increases or decreases the adhesiveness of cultured cells when they are exposed to light with specific wavelengths, AIST said in a statement. In addition, after seeding and culturing cells on the base material, it can desorb the cells, and there will be no damage to cells due to light irradiation and handling, AIST said.

The institute said that it aims to commercialize the new method "within a few years."

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.