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In Brief This Week: Exiqon; Roche 454 Life Sciences; Center for Medicine in the Public Interest

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Exiqon unveiled a new grant program today for researchers at academic and non-profit institutions in North America conducting microRNA studies. The firm said that the grant program has been established with internal seed funding of $25,000. It did not say how many awards it would grant, but said that recipients may use the awards for purchasing Exiqon microRNA products or services. Applications are due June 15, with recipients announced no later than July 1, the firm said.

Roche said this week that researchers from its 454 Life Sciences company collaborated with Malaysian bioinformatics firm Synamatix and Sime Darby to complete the sequencing, assembly, and annotation of the oil palm genome. The collaborative effort also analyzed gene expression at various stages of development in order to elucidate oil biosynthesis mechanisms through the sequencing of 12 transcriptomes.

The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest this week launched its Odyssey Project, a multi-year initiative that will focus on drumming up support for biomedical innovation as part of any healthcare reform efforts. CMP said that the project "will propose fundamental changes in attitudes, regulations, health policies and healthcare financing that focuses on the near-term potential of new technologies and services that advance personalized medicine and allow individuals to save money while improving their health."

The Scan

Push Toward Approval

The Wall Street Journal reports the US Food and Drug Administration is under pressure to grant full approval to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

Deer Exposure

About 40 percent of deer in a handful of US states carry antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Millions But Not Enough

NPR reports the US is set to send 110 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad, but that billions are needed.

PNAS Papers on CRISPR-Edited Cancer Models, Multiple Sclerosis Neuroinflammation, Parasitic Wasps

In PNAS this week: gene-editing approach for developing cancer models, role of extracellular proteins in multiple sclerosis, and more.