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In Brief This Week: Beckman Coulter; Source BioScience, Fluidigm; 5AM Solutions; BioSystem Development

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Beckman Coulter is laying off 11 employees from its facility in Webster, Texas, according to that state's most recent WARN notice. Beckman employs 92 full-time employees at the site, which performs R&D and makes diagnostic reagents. The layoffs are scheduled to happen by Jan. 15, 2010.

Source BioScience said that it has begun offering genotyping services using Fluidigm's EP1 System, a microfluidic-based single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping platform. The Nottingham, UK-based firm announced the service at the launch of the University College London Genetics Institute, where the firm has a genotyping and DNA sequencing facility.

5AM Solutions this week announced the launch of Family Helix Community, an interactive web portal designed to facilitate collaboration among researchers, epidemiologists, and clinicians as they aim to collect and use family health history data. 5AM has provided initial funding for Family Helix, which is a non-profit organization established to develop and manage the Family Helix Community. The partners will work with the National Coalition for Health Integration, which is working on providing an integrated health information platform that supports the management and secure exchange of biomedical data on a national scale.

Madison, Wis.-based BioSystem Development has raised $1.4 million from private investors to support commercialization of AssayMAP products. The firm's AssayMAP platform enables high-throughput solutions for bioprocess development, biomarkers, and life sciences research.

Two of the firm's manufacturing partners, All Metal Stamping and Orbital Biosciences contributed $350,000 to the round in the form of tooling and manufacturing infrastructure. The remaining investment of just over $1 million came from current investors including Marshfield Investment Partners, Silicon Pastures, and Chippewa Valley Angel Investors Network.

The Scan

Researchers Compare WGS, Exome Sequencing-Based Mendelian Disease Diagnosis

Investigators find a diagnostic edge for whole-genome sequencing, while highlighting the cost advantages and improving diagnostic rate of exome sequencing in EJHG.

Researchers Retrace Key Mutations in Reassorted H1N1 Swine Flu Virus With Avian-Like Features

Mutations in the acidic polymerase-coding gene boost the pathogenicity and transmissibility of Eurasian avian-like H1N1 swine influenza viruses, a PNAS paper finds.

Genome Sequences Reveal Evolutionary History of South America's Canids

An analysis in PNAS of South American canid species' genomes offers a look at their evolutionary history, as well as their relationships and adaptations.

Lung Cancer Response to Checkpoint Inhibitors Reflected in Circulating Tumor DNA

In non-small cell lung cancer patients, researchers find in JCO Precision Oncology that survival benefits after immune checkpoint blockade coincide with a dip in ctDNA levels.