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Pacific Biosciences

Pat Brown, Pat Brooks

$28.7 million in stimulus funding boosted the number of awards for low-cost sequencing technology development this year from 10 to 17. Seven grants went to corporate research teams, at Pacific Biosciences, Helicos BioSciences, IBM, Ion Torrent Systems, Electronic Biosciences, GE Global Research, and Lightspeed Genomics. Another award supports collaborative research with Halcyon Molecular.

Helicos and Pacific Bio received funding from NHGRI tied to its signature stimulus act project — development of technologies for sequencing a human genome for $1,000 or less. In addition, GE received non-stimulus related funds to continue its efforts to develop a low-cost sequencing system.

Among the recipients of the awards are Helicos BioSciences and Pacific Biosciences.

Paired Ends: Sep 29, 2009

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Kelly Frazer, Mark Chaisson, George Church, Ron Davis, Patrik Dahlén, David Haussler, James Kent

Several firms, including Pacific Biosciences, Life Technologies, Caliper Life Sciences, PerkinElmer, and Myriad Genetics, made their pitches to investors this week at the UBS Global Life Sciences Conference.

A team of researchers from Helicos BioSciences reported in an online letter in Nature today that they have used the firm's technology to directly sequence RNA from yeast.

The firm disclosed that it is collaborating with six early-access customers, including Monsanto and the Scripps Institute, on a variety of sequencing projects. It will soon finalize the list of institutions that will receive an early commercial version of its SMRT sequencer during the first half of next year.

At the Personal Genomes conference at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory last week, PacBio Chief Technology Officer Steve Turner showed that the company's platform can distinguish methylated from unmethylated bases for two types of nucleotides, and is able in principle to sequence RNA directly.

The funding will support PacBio's effort to launch its SMRT sequencing system in the second half of 2010, and will also serve as a financial "buffer" as the company looks to pursue an initial public offering or other large-scale financing effort some time next year.

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NPR says the explosion and fire earlier this week at a Russian lab that stores dangerous pathogens revives the question of whether such samples should be kept.

According to Wired, Nebula Genomics is providing a way for people to get their genomes sequenced anonymously.

A 26-year-old woman tells Cosmopolitan about learning her APOE status at a young age.

In Science journals this week: a functional genomic screen uncovers drug combination that increases KRAS inhibitor efficacy in aggressive lung cancer, and more.