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Abbott, Ikonisys, Nanogen, Pathway Diagnostics, NHLBI, Predictive Diagnostics, University of Utah, NINDS, NIH, US Senate, Iceland Genomics, Roche

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Abbott Licenses DNA Probes to Ikonisys

Abbott has granted Ikonisys a worldwide license to manufacture and sell DNA probes for its Chromotest, a prenatal diagnostic for chromosomal abnormalities, the companies said this week.

Ikonisys also obtained from Abbott rights to buy chromosome fluorescence in situ hybridization probes in the fields of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and automated detection in amniocytes of FISH signals of "the most common chromosomal abnormalities."

Terms of the first agreement call for Ikonisys to pay Abbott an up front, non-refundable license fee and royalties on commercialized kits. Terms of the second agreement were undisclosed. Ikonisys is based in New Haven, Conn.


Nanogen Licenses Gene Variants from Pathway Diagnostics for Dx Predicting Drug Response

Nanogen has licensed genetic variations from Pathways Diagnostics that predict patients' response to antidepressants and antipsychotic in order to create a diagnostic product, the company said this week.

Under the non-exclusive agreement, the companies have been working on a molecular diagnostic product, based on Nanogen's NanoChip platform, to determine the appropriate drug dosage for patients with psychiatric disorders. Nanogen plans to include Pathways' gene variations along with cytochrome P450 family members.

The companies did not disclose financial details of the agreement.


NHLBI to Issue RFP for Large-Scale Genotyping Center

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute will begin soliciting proposals in early April for the creation of a Large-Scale Genotyping Center that will perform high-throughput genotyping for candidate gene association studies and a genome-wide association study, the organization said this week.

NHLBI expects to award one four-year contract for the center, and said in a presolicitation notice that the RFP should be available here "on or about" April 4.

Proposals will be due in early July. NHLBI did not disclose the expected amount of funding for the center.

NHLBI said the center is necessary "to expand the utilization of NHLBI's well-phenotyped observational cohorts and intervention studies for genetic association studies, through the application of large-scale genotyping and widespread data dissemination for genotype-phenotype correlation."

The center "must have the capacity to generate at least 850 million genotypes over two years with an error rate of no more than 1 percent," NHLBI said in the presolicitation notice. NHLBI has set a maximum cost of $0.01 per genotype, which is expected to "decrease as technologies evolve."

The proposed candidate gene association studies will involve the characterization of more than 1,700 candidate genes, with 8-10 SNPs per gene region, on approximately 50,000 study members in heart, lung, blood, and sleep studies. The study is expected to result in more than 850 million genotypes.

The genome-wide association study, to be implemented in the second year of the program, will involve a set of up to 300,000 genetic variants in around 500 cases and 1,000 controls, for a total of around 450 million genotypes.


Predictive Diagnostics, University of Utah Pen Biomarker Collaboration

Predictive Diagnostics, a subsidiary of Large Scale Biology, said this week that it is collaborating with the University of Utah Research Foundation to identify biomarkers for the early diagnosis of pregnancy-related complications and disorders such as pre-term birth and preeclampsia.

UURF will provide Predictive Diagnostics with blood samples that the company will analyze using its BAMF (Biomarker Amplification Filter) software.

According to Predictive Diagnostics' website, the BAMF technology examines thousands of potential protein biomarkers found in the blood in order to identify proteomics "fingerprints" containing multiple disease biomarkers.

Predictive Diagnostics said the goal of the UURF collaboration is to identify and validate blood tests for the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of pregnancy-related disorders.


NINDS to Fund Research Core Facilities, Including Genomics, With Up to $2.5M Each

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke plans to fund a number of centralized resources and facilities at research institutions, including those offering genomic technologies, to support neuroscience research, the institute said on last week.

Under the program, called "NINDS Institutional Center Core Grants to Support Neuroscience Research," NINDS will support core facilities shared by investigators with existing NINDS-funded research projects. Cores can receive up to $500,000 per year in direct costs for up to five years. NINDS did not specify the number of awards or total amount of funding it plans to disburse.

Eligible research cores include those providing assay development, DNA sequencing, mass spectrometry, microarrays, proteomics, and protein crystallography.

To view the complete program announcement, click here.


NIH to Spend $3M on Research into Genomics of Transplantation in FY '06

The National Institutes of Health plans to fund genomic studies in clinical transplantation, NIH said on this week.

Under the RFA, entitled "Genomics of Transplantation Cooperative Research Program," NIH plans to fund two or three applications with $3 million in total in fiscal year 2006 to expand its existing research program in this area. Applicants can request up to $700,000 per year in direct costs for up to five years.

Examples of eligible research projects include determination of gene-expression profiles of donor organs and recipients, development of surrogate biomarkers of acute and chronic graft rejection, identification of SNPs, haplotypes, and microsatellite polymorphisms in donors and recipients, determination of gene polymorphisms and expression patterns associated with race, age, and gender in graft rejection, and development of diagnostic tests based on gene expression that will predict rejection.

To see the RFA, click here.


US Senate Passes Amendment to Add $1.5B to 2006 NIH Budget; Must Still Clear House, Bush

The US Senate last week passed the so-called Specter Amendment to the 2006 federal fiscal budget, which seeks to add $1.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health.

In order for the amendment to go into effect, it must be still be passed by the US House of Representatives and approved by President Bush.

The amendment means extra money for the NIH, in addition to a .7 percent NIH budget increase that has been proposed by President Bush.

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology commended the passage of the amendment, praising Senator Arlen Specter as a "tireless champion for biomedical research on behalf of those Americans suffering from illness or injury."


Iceland Genomics and Roche in Cancer Biomarker Collaboration

Iceland Genomics and Roche Diagnostics plan to co-discover cancer biomarkers, the firms said last week.

ICG and Roche will jointly analyze patient samples to validate novel molecular markers for diagnostic tests to predict recurrence of cancer for selected tumor entities, the companies said. IGC will receive access to certain gene-expression data as well as support for further characterization of patient samples in Iceland, the companies said.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Filed under

The Scan

More Boosters for US

Following US Food and Drug Administration authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Washington Post writes.

From a Pig

A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering an immune response, Reuters reports.

For Privacy's Sake

Wired reports that more US states are passing genetic privacy laws.

Science Paper on How Poaching Drove Evolution in African Elephants

In Science this week: poaching has led to the rapid evolution of tuskless African elephants.