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Zen-Bio, Society for Biomolecular Screening, Galapagos, BioFocus, Alnylam, Qiagen

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Zen-Bio Wins $960K SBIR Grant to Develop Adipocyte Cell System for Drug Research

Zen-Bio said last week that it has been awarded a 24-month $961,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund the development and characterization of a human omental adipocyte cell sytem

"The human omental cell system is a novel research tool invaluable to human metabolic disease researchers," Renee Lea-Currie, Zen-Bio's director of cell biology, said in a statement. "Customers will be able to use our human cell system to evaluate potential new drugs and therapies as well as elucidate some of the basic functions of this highly metabolically active endocrine organ."


'Evolution' of Drug Discovery Process Prompts Society for Biomolecular Screening to Change Name

The Society for Biomolecular Screening has changed its name to the Society for Biomolecular Sciences, and will now support such areas as ADME/Tox and target discovery, SBS said last week.

The 11-year-old nonprofit organization decided to make the change following a vote of the membership.

"The name change reflects the evolution of a more integrated drug discovery process," Al Kolb, president of SBS, said in a statement.

"The society will continue to support traditional screening sciences," Kolb said. "In addition to this core discipline, SBS will reach out to other areas of drug discovery, such as [ADME/Tox] and target discovery, [which] are becoming more closely linked with high-throughput screening."

SBS has more than 2,000 members representing more than 30 countries, 400 companies, and 40 universities. It publishes the Journal of Biomolecular Screening, which will not change its name.


Galapagos to Acquire BioFocus for $36.5M in Stock

Dutch biotech Galapagos has reached an agreement to acquire UK-based BioFocus for £20.2 million ($36.5 million), Galapagos said in a statement last week.

According to the terms of the offer, Galapagos will buy the entire issued share capital of BioFocus by Oct. 12. BioFocus will then become part of the Galapagos group with a 30-percent stake in the firm.

Galapagos CEO Onno van de Stolpe said that the acquisition is expected to enhance the company's position in the drug discovery market.

"We are truly impressed by their drug discovery capabilities [and] we believe that these will greatly accelerate our programs in bone and joint diseases," van de Stolpe said.


Alnylam Licenses RNAi Patent Family to Qiagen

Qiagen has licensed a number of RNA interference patents from Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Alnylam said today.

Under the non-exclusive license, Qiagen will be allowed to provide research products and services using RNAi under the Kreutzer-Limmer patent family, which covers small interfering RNAs and their use to mediate RNAi in mammalian cells.

Qiagen already offers siRNA libraries and high-throughput siRNA synthesis technology.

The Scan

More Boosters for US

Following US Food and Drug Administration authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Washington Post writes.

From a Pig

A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering an immune response, Reuters reports.

For Privacy's Sake

Wired reports that more US states are passing genetic privacy laws.

Science Paper on How Poaching Drove Evolution in African Elephants

In Science this week: poaching has led to the rapid evolution of tuskless African elephants.