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The National Institutes of Health and Kalypsys, Diosynth Biotechnology and Selexis, TekCel and Biophile, and Iconix Pharmaceuticals and Icos, Taisho Pharmaceuticals, and AstraZeneca


NIH Taps Kalypsys Screening Technology

The National Institutes of Health will use screening technology from Kalypsys at its newly created NIH Chemical Genomics Center, the company said earlier this month.

The agreement, which was announced on June 9, is worth up to $30 million, according to San Diego-based Kalypsys. The Chemical Genomics Center, based at the National Human Genome Research Institute, will use Kalypsys’ high-throughput screening technology to produce chemical tools to help understand the function of the genome.

As reported in Pharmacogenomics Reporter (see PGx Reporter, 6/17/2004), Inside Bioassays’ sister publication, the deal includes robotic and liquid handling technologies that can dispense cells or proteins onto 1,536-microwell plates, and are expected to be able to screen more than one million compounds a day, as well as whole model organisms such as zebrafish embryos, nematodes, and yeast, and certain types of mammalian cells.

The NIH Chemical Genomics Center is the first of up to ten pilot centers established by the Molecular Libraries and Imaging Initiative, led by the National Institute of Mental Health. NIH plans to establish a repository for up to one million chemical compounds. Data generated by the chemical genomics network will be deposited in a freely available central database, called PubChem.

Diosynth Biotechnology to Evaluate Selexis Cell Line Development Technology

Diosynth Biotechnology of Research Triangle Park, N.C., and Swiss biotechnology company Selexis said last week that they had initiated a joint research study to evaluate the use of Selexis’ MARTech platform for in process development and cGMP manufacturing of recombinant proteins.

The MARTech platform is based upon the effects of genetic elements termed Matrix Attachment Region elements, which can be transfected with a gene of interest to produce stably expressing cell lines without gene amplification, Selexis said. According to the company, the technology results in the expression of antibodies or recombinant proteins on the order of 20 to 40 picograms per cell per day in CHO and other mammalian cell lines.

Sample Management Company TekCel Acquires Biophile

Sample management company TekCel said on June 21 that it had acquired the assets of Biophile, a low-temperature sample management company.

Tekcel, based in Hopkinton, Mass., said it will maintain Biophile’s research and development operations, which are based in Charlottesville, Va., under the acquisition. It did not disclose the financial terms of the arrangement.

Since 2002, Biophile has marketed low-temperature sample management systems that are capable of handling samples at minus 80 degrees C, to pharmaceutical companies and research institutes in the US, TekCel said.

Iconix Signs Chemogenomics Collaborations with Icos, Taisho, AstraZeneca

Iconix Pharmaceuticals of Mountain View, Calif., signed three separate agreements in the month of June concerning its chemogenomic profiling technology.

On June 24, Iconix said it is providing its technology to Icos; on June 15, Iconix said it will perform chemogenomics profiling and analysis services for Taisho Pharmaceuticals of Japan; and on June 2, Iconix announced it will provide chemogenomic profiling services for AstraZeneca.

According to official statements, the companies will use Iconix' technology to better understand preclinical drug responses, discover and validate biomarkers to predict the onset of specific pathologies, and facilitate the development of new drug candidates for research programs.

IBC Assays and Cellular Targets Conference Hits San Diego in October

IBC Life Sciences confirmed last week the scheduling of its international event, Assays and Cellular Targets, which will take place on October 18-21, 2004 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina in San Diego, CA.

IBC said the conference features a lineup of over 100 speakers, including eight keynote speakers. In addition, the meeting will feature a unique program for each of four industry sectors — Assay Development, Cell-Based Assays, GPCR, and Ion Channel Drug Targets — while presenting one exhibit hall with technologies and services that cut across the four sectors.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.