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GeneFrontier, Abcellute, Artemis, Merck, Galapagos

GeneFrontier to Distribute Abcellute’s Cell Lines in Japan
Abcellute and GeneFrontier have signed an exclusive agreement to manufacture, market, and distribute Abcellute’s preserved hepatocytes in Japan, the companies said last week.
Under the terms of the agreement, GeneFrontier is also allowed to establish sub-licenses with pharmaceutical or other companies to use the Abcellute technology internally, the companies said.
Financial details were not disclosed.
Abcellute was founded in 2001 as a spinout from Cardiff University in the UK. Its core technology allows researchers to preserve and store fresh primary hepatocytes for up to five days at non-freezing temperatures without the loss of biological function or principal biomarkers, the company said.

Artemis to Make Knock-Down Mice for Merck
Artemis Pharmaceuticals said last week that it has signed a deal to construct a “large number” of shRNA-engineered mouse models for use by Merck in in vivo functional analysis of select disease-related genes.
Under the deal, Artemis will create both constitutive and inducible knock-down mice using its proprietary vector construction, embryonic stem cell transfection, and inducible RNAi technologies. Merck will provide select shRNA sequences corresponding to mouse genes of interest.
Additional terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

Galapagos Extends siRNA-Based Target-Validation Deal With Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Galapagos has extended by 15 months and €800,000 ($1 million) a two-year agreement with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics to use its siRNA and cDNA collections to develop new treatments for cystic fibrosis, the company said last week.
Galapagos said its BioFocus DPI division is using its SilenceSelect adenoviral library to design assays that can identify and validate potential targets that could be the basis for the development of new medicines.
Galapagos signed the original two-year, €1.3-million research agreement with CFFT, a drug development affiliate of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, in April 2005.

The Scan

Study Tracks Off-Target Gene Edits Linked to Epigenetic Features

Using machine learning, researchers characterize in BMC Genomics the potential off-target effects of 19 computed or experimentally determined epigenetic features during CRISPR-Cas9 editing.

Coronary Artery Disease Risk Loci, Candidate Genes Identified in GWAS Meta-Analysis

A GWAS in Nature Genetics of nearly 1.4 million coronary artery disease cases and controls focused in on more than 200 candidate causal genes, including the cell motility-related myosin gene MYO9B.

Multiple Sclerosis Contributors Found in Proteome-Wide Association Study

With a combination of genome-wide association and brain proteome data, researchers in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology tracked down dozens of potential multiple sclerosis risk proteins.

Quality Improvement Study Compares Molecular Tumor Boards, Central Consensus Recommendations

With 50 simulated cancer cases, researchers in JAMA Network Open compared molecular tumor board recommendations with central consensus plans at a dozen centers in Japan.