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Evotec, BioFocus, Galapagos, Guava Technologies

Evotec Opens First Drug Discovery Center
Evotec this week announced the launch of its Innovation Center for Fragment Based Drug Discovery. Over the next two years, Evotec plans to create a number of Innovation Centers in areas that will provide tools to help researchers identify new therapeutic compounds.
Evotec has implemented a fragment screening platform, EVOlution, which can identify low molecular weight fragments in a biologically relevant environment. The initial step is carried out using Evotec's screening technologies and its library of 20,000 fragments designed and selected by its medicinal chemists.
Combining this screening process with subsequent protein-ligand X-ray crystallography, the EVOlution platform can identify novel small molecule fragment hits for various biological targets in a short period. Evotec can then rapidly progress the fragment programs to identify novel lead structures and preclinical development candidates.

BioFocus Extends Deal With CRT, Inks New Deal With URMC
Galapagos announced this week that its BioFocus DPI service division has signed agreements with Cancer Research Technology and the University of Rochester Medical Center. 
BioFocus DPI and CRT have extended their cancer drug discovery collaboration, initially announced in January 2006. Under the terms of the extension, BioFocus DPI will perform medicinal chemistry services for a series of CRT cancer drug programs. In return, CRT will fund the research of four BioFocus DPI scientists for one year.
The BioFocus DPI deal with URMC will focus on neuroAIDS drug discovery research. URMC has selected BioFocus DPI to develop assays and perform screening, hit characterization, and hit-to-lead medicinal chemistry work. The planned three year collaboration has a contract value exceeding €500,000 ($672,644.72) for BioFocus DPI in the first year. 

Guava Opens EMEA Office in Europe
Guava Technologies announced this week that it has established an office in Stamford, UK to help it build relationships with EMEA customers.
Todd Christian, Guava’s vice president of operations, said in a statement that the UK office will serve as Guava’s EMEA headquarters and will be run by Paul Wheeler, Guava’s director of EMEA operations.

The Scan

Harvard Team Report One-Time Base Editing Treatment for Motor Neuron Disease in Mice

A base-editing approach restored SMN levels and improved motor function in a mouse model of spinal muscular atrophy, a new Science paper reports.

International Team Examines History of North American Horses

Genetic and other analyses presented in Science find that horses spread to the northern Rockies and Great Plains by the first half of the 17th century.

New Study Examines Genetic Dominance Within UK Biobank

Researchers analyze instances of genetic dominance within UK Biobank data, as they report in Science.

Cell Signaling Pathway Identified as Metastasis Suppressor

A new study in Nature homes in on the STING pathway as a suppressor of metastasis in a mouse model of lung cancer.