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In Brief this Week: Sigma-Aldrich; Karolinska Institutet; Thermo Fisher Scientific; WaferGen Biosystems; DNA Genotek; Massachusetts Life Sciences Center

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Sigma-Aldrich this week said that its board of directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $.16 per share. The dividend will be paid on June 15 to shareholders of record on June 1.

Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet this week launched the LifeGene project, a collaboration among all medical faculties in Sweden and hosted by the institute. The project will gather information on the health and lifestyles of 500,000 Swedes, as well as blood and urine samples for later analysis. The objective is to improve diagnostics, treatments, and preventative recommendations.

Thermo Fisher Scientific this week gave notice that it intends to redeem all outstanding 6-1/8 percent senior subordinated notes due 2015 on July 1, 2010. As of May 3, $500 million in aggregate principal amount of the notes is outstanding.

WaferGen Biosystems said this week that it has signed on its tenth early access customer for its SmartChip Real-Time PCR System. The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston joins the other early-access customers, including Ghent University, Stanford University, University of California at San Francisco, University of Pittsburgh, University of Southern California, the University of Texas Southwestern, two Japanese organizations, and an undisclosed US biotech company.

DNA Genotek announced that The Anthony Nolan Trust, the UK's largest bone marrow donor registry, has selected the firm's Oragene DNA collection device for a pilot project aimed at increasing donor recruitment.

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center said that it is now accepting applications for its 2010 Life Sciences Tax Incentive Program. This is the second year of the program. Last year, it waraded $24.5 million in tax incentives to 26 life science companies, which committed to creating more than 800 jobs in the state. Applications are due by noon on July 2, and can be submitted via the organization's website.

State bonds totaling $62 million have been approved toward construction of a $126 million research facility for the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine by the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank. The consortium consists of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, The Scripps Research Institute, and University of California, San Diego.

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.