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Dharmacon, Pfizer, Sigma-Aldrich

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Dharmacon Plans Publication of RNAi Screening Standards
 
Dharmacon plans to publish within the first half of this year a proposed set of standards for conducting RNAi screening experiments, which was developed by a consortium of research centers the company established in late 2005, CBA News sister publication RNAi News reported this week.
 
"We hope to publish the standards within the first half of 2007, if not within the first quarter," Bill Marshall, vice president of technology and business development for Dharmacon parent Thermo Fisher Scientific, told RNAi News last month. The company expects to publish the standards in a "very respected journal," after which "we would hope there would be broad adoption" of the guidelines.
 
The standards, termed MIARE, or Minimal Information About RNAi Experiments, are an outgrowth of Dharmacon's Genome-Wide RNAi Global Initiative, an alliance of international non-profit biomedical research centers that will use the company's siArray human genome siRNA library to conduct genome-wide RNAi screens to accelerate drug discovery and development.
 
One of the initiative's primary goals was to create the MIARE standards, as well as to provide a forum for member institutes to share research protocols, establish experimental standards, and develop mechanisms for exchanging and comparing screening data.
 
According to Marshall, through the initiative Dharmacon provided the proposed standards to "a broad section of the RNAi community that would include people using different modalities for employing RNAi to ensure that we do get a global agreement around what the standards should be."
 
Although Dharmacon is the only industry representative in the Genome-Wide RNAi Global Initiative, he noted that the company plans to include other commercial reagent providers in the MIARE effort. "We are actively reaching out to academic researchers, we are reaching out to industrial researchers, we're reaching out to other providers of RNAi so that we can create this global standard to advance everyone's ability to" use the technology, he said.
 
"We're working upfront so that there are very few arguments against the sort of standards that one would apply," Marshall added.
 

 
Pfizer to Use Sigma-Aldrich's ddRNAi Gene Silencing Tech
 
Sigma-Aldrich this week said it has granted Pfizer non-exclusive rights to its DNA-directed RNAi technology.
 
The agreement will allow Pfizer’s to use Sigma’s ddRNAi at any of its worldwide operations, Sigma said.
 
Sigma exclusively licensed ddRNAi applications from Australian company Benitec and Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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