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MDS, National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institute of Mental Health

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MDS to Cut 210 Jobs in Restructuring
 
MDS said this week that it plans to lay off 210 employees in a restructuring effort aimed at improving profitability in its MDS Pharma Services and MDS Analytical Technologies business units.
 
The Toronto-based firm said that it expects to report pre-tax restructuring charges of roughly $18 million, with the majority of those charges coming in its fiscal 2008 third quarter, which ends July 31. It said that it also expects to record a pre-tax facility-related asset impairment charge of approximately $10 million related to its MDS Pharma Services Montreal site.
 
Last month, MDS reported second-quarter revenue growth of 24 percent. The Analytical Technologies segment reported second-quarter revenue growth of 53 percent, thanks in large part to MDS’ acquisition last year of Molecular Devices for $615 million.
 
MDS said the charges would reduce its fiscal 2008 net income by approximately $20 million, or $.16 per share.
 
The firm said that it will provide additional comments and discuss the impact of the charges for fiscal 2008 during its third-quarter conference call on Sept. 4.
 

 
NIEHS Seeks Input on Cell-Based High-Throughput Toxicity Screens
 
The National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences’ National Toxicology Program is seeking information from the research community on cell-based high-throughput toxicity screens.
 
According to a request for information issued last week, the NTP is also seeking recommendations on molecular targets that are “most informative” for profiling cellular toxicity pathways, both in cell-based and biochemical assay formats, and information on technologies that could be used to develop “a comprehensive approach” to high-throughput toxicity screening.
 
NIEHS said that it plans to hold an “informational meeting” Sept. 11-12 in Research Triangle Park, NC, to share information about assays, molecular targets, and cellular pathways.
 

 
NHGRI to Fund Small Molecule HTS with $4M in '09
 
The National Institutes of Health announced this week that it will support researchers developing small molecule, high-throughput screening technologies that are more efficient than current systems with a total of $4 million in 2009.
 
These grants are part of an NIH program focused on expanding academic access to high-throughput screening for identifying small molecule probes to interrogate the biology of novel targets, cell phenotypes, and pathways associated with disease processes.
 
The National Human Genome Research Institute and the National Institute of Mental Health will administer a total of up to $500,000 in direct expenses per year over two years to between five and seven investigators. NIH also is encouraging these researchers to use one of the centers within the Molecular Libraries Probe Production Centers Network (MLPCN) for installing and testing the instruments and to implement one or more screens. The MLPCN is part of the NIH Molecular Libraries and Imaging Roadmap Program.
 
This funding program includes two goals: one focused on late-stage development of technology, and another on implementing and beta-testing high-throughput screens of synthetic chemical and natural product libraries. These programs could include research aimed at creating improved cell- and organism-based high-content assay technologies, label-free assay instrumentation that uses mass spectrometry, and other technologies.
 
NIH also will welcome applications for novel approaches to high-throughput screening integration, microfluidics and lab-on-chip technologies, and methods for highly parallel ligand- and target-binding detection.
 
Letters of intent are due by Sept. 2.

The Scan

Genetic Tests Lead to Potential Prognostic Variants in Dutch Children With Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Researchers in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine found that the presence of pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants was linked to increased risk of death and poorer outcomes in children with pediatric dilated cardiomyopathy.

Fragile X Syndrome Mutations Found With Comprehensive Testing Method

Researchers in Clinical Chemistry found fragile X syndrome expansions and other FMR1 mutations with ties to the intellectual disability condition using a long-range PCR and long-read sequencing approach.

Team Presents Strategy for Speedy Species Detection in Metagenomic Sequence Data

A computational approach presented in PLOS Computational Biology produced fewer false-positive species identifications in simulated and authentic metagenomic sequences.

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.