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Dublin City University, Sigma-Aldrich, Scripps, Pfizer, Visen, Eli Lilly, Innovatis, Schärfe System

Dublin City University Joins Sigma-Aldrich's RNAi Program
Sigma-Aldrich this week said Dublin City University will become a member of the company’s RNAi Partnership Program, which will allow the university to use Sigma’s functional genomics portfolio and the shRNA libraries developed by Sigma and The RNAi Consortium.
Ronan Murphy, a researcher at the Vascular Health Research Center at Dublin City University, said the center will use the consortium's shRNA information and Sigma’s tools to continue its work studying the link between integrin receptor regulation in cells and vascular disease.

Murphy described the center’s work as being highly relevant to other research in areas such as immunology, hematology, cancer, and neurobiology. He added that using the shRNA library will “greatly accelerate our ability to prioritize genes that are functionally relevant” to its research.    

Sigma said the team at the VHRC has already begun using the company’s technology and the consortium's libraries.

The Partnership Program is a series of collaborations between Sigma and academic institutions to use, share, and to develop RNAi technologies and intellectual property, and to study the relationship between gene functioning and disease.

The RNAi Consortium comprises a group of representatives of companies and academic institutions including MIT, Harvard Medical School, Washington University, Novartis, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, and Sigma-Aldrich, among others.


Scripps and Pfizer Enter Five-Year, $100M Drug-Discovery Pact
The Scripps Research Institute this week said that it has entered into a five-year drug-discovery collaboration with Pfizer Global Research and Development.
Under the terms of the agreement, Pfizer will pay Scripps $100 million over a five year period, during which scientists from both entities will work together to “identify and perform specific projects of mutual interest,” Scripps said in a statement.
Scripps and Pfizer will jointly study and evaluate therapeutic approaches to diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and mental illness; and will develop new tests to validate these new therapies for potential development and regulatory approval.
Pfizer will pay Scripps milestones and royalties on therapeutic compounds created through the collaboration. In addition, Pfizer will have the first right to license discoveries made at Scripps during the research agreement.

Visen and Eli Lilly Collaborate on In Vivo Fluorescence Imaging
Visen Medical this week said that it has entered into a joint research program with Eli Lilly to expand the capabilities and accelerate the adoption of Visen’s in vivo fluorescence technologies in Lilly’s research programs.
Lilly has been working with Visen’s portfolio of in vivo fluorescence probes and fluorescence molecular tomography imaging systems as part of its new molecular imaging center and preclinical development programs, Visen said.
Financial terms were not disclosed.

German Firms Innovatis and Schärfe System Announce Merger
German biotechs Innovatis and Schärfe System this week announced that they have merged to jointly offer products for cell analysis, cell counting, and cell culture control.
Innovatis’ current investor, Ventizz Capital Advisor Partners, has increased its investment in the company to support the merger, Innovatis said.
Innovatis sells Cedex, a technology based on image recognition using Trypan blue to determine cell viability in cell counting and culture monitoring.
Schärfe System sells products for cell culture quality control under the brand name Casy. These products include electronic cell counters and size determiners; and cell analyzer with integrated work stations for complete cell culture control and documentation, Innovatis said.
Financial details were not disclosed.

The Scan

Team Tracks Down Potential Blood Plasma Markers Linked to Heart Failure in Atrial Fibrillation Patients

Researchers in BMC Genomics found 10 differentially expressed proteins or metabolites that marked atrial fibrillation with heart failure cases.

Study Points to Synonymous Mutation Effects on E. Coli Enzyme Activity

Researchers in Nature Chemistry saw signs of enzyme activity shifts in the presence of synonymous mutations in a multiscale modeling analysis of three Escherichia coli genes.

Team Outlines Paternal Sample-Free Single-Gene Approach for Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening

With data for nearly 9,200 pregnant individuals, researchers in Genetics in Medicine demonstrate the feasibility of their carrier screening and reflex single-gene non-invasive prenatal screening approach.

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.