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The diagnostic is being developed using a new peptoid-based technique for detecting disease-specific antibodies that could prove broadly useful as a protein biomarker discovery tool, said a researcher.

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Dale Pfost, Garry Menzel

For instance, Tacere Therapeutics received $488,958 in two grants, the first of which supports development of a new hepatitis C treatment, as well as a previously undisclosed eye-disease program.

The two areas, which have opportunities RXi's CEO called "tremendous" and "significant," have been well worn by rival drug companies making similar bets including Sirnaomics, TransDerm, and Quark Pharmaceuticals.

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Philip Frost

According to Opko, Schering-Plough is making the divestiture, which includes the phase II chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting prophylactic rolapitant, in order to meet certain requirements for its expected merger with Merck.

According to Opko, the company focuses on "the representation, importation, commercialization, and distribution of pharmaceutical products, [over-the-counter] products, and medical devices for the government, private, and institutional markets."

The transaction "provides the company with additional financial resources to fund acquisitions and support bringing [its] projects and pipeline of novel drugs and products to market," according to Opko Chairman and CEO Phillip Frost.

The arrangement marks the latest step away from the RNAi field for Opko, which has signed a number of deals recently not involving the gene-silencing technology.

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Steven Rubin, Peter Garcia, Bruce York, Paul McDonnel, Joseph Kingsley

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Bloomberg reports that the DNA-for-cash deal reported in Kentucky might be a more widespread scam.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have treated infants with X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency using gene therapy in an early phase study.

St. Louis Public Radio reports that some African Americans are turning to DNA ancestry testing to help guide genealogical searches.

In Nature this week: a genomic analysis of the snailfish Pseudoliparis swirei, ancient DNA analysis gives insight into the introduction of farming to England, and more.