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Barney Saunders, Patrick Langlois, Tecan, Promega, Nanogen, The Broad Institute



Barney Saunders has been named chief operating officer of Microchip Biotechnologies.

Saunders previously worked at Agilent Technologies serving as general manager and vice president of bioresearch solutions, and senior director of science and technology in that company's Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis division.

Saunders spent 13 years at Amersham Biosciences in a variety of commercial and marketing positions before joining Agilent.

ExonHit Therapeutics has appointed Patrick Langlois to its supervisory board.

Langlois currently heads PJL Conseils, a consulting firm. He served as executive vice president of finance from 2000 to 2004 at Aventis, where he also was the vice president of the directorate from 2002 to 2005. Prior to that, Langlois spent nearly 30 years with the Rhone Poulenc Group.


New Releases

Tecan and Promega this week launched complementary products for large-volume genomic DNA purification system.

Tecan's Freedom EVO gDNA XL is a system for automated purification of genomic DNA that is ready for genotyping, genome analysis and real-time PCR, the company said. The system automatically detects and accounts for sample volume levels without intervention, and it allows sample sizes of 1 ml to 10 ml per run, with as many as 96 samples per batch, the company said.

The Promega MagneSil system can be used with Tecan's Freedom EVO product to prepare gDNA from fresh, refrigerated, or frozen whole-blood samples, the firm said.

Nanogen said last week that it has begun shipping its NanoChip 400 System, both domestically and in Europe.

The new system utilizes Nanogen's NanoChip 400 Microarray, which the company claims is suitable for developing homebrew molecular assays in mid- to high-volume clinical and research laboratories.

Nanogen said its NanoChip 400 system is "multi-purpose" and that it combines sample- and reagent-handling robotics with detection. The San Diego-based company said that the 400 system is capable of "multiple molecular applications, including the detection of SNPs and multi-gene targets."

The Broad Institute said this week that it will make its Gene Set Enrichment Analysis tool for microarray data analysis available for free on its website at

The institute said that GSEA is useful for researchers investigating gene networks and the mechanisms of disease and healthy states. Those that download the software will be able to access a database of 1,500 genes that are known to interact in biochemical pathways. A paper describing GSEA was published in the Oct. 25 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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The Scan

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Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.

Study Explores Animated Digital Message Approach to Communicate Genetic Test Results to Family Members

In the Journal of Genetic Counseling, the approach showed promise in participants presented with a hypothetical scenario related to a familial hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome diagnosis.

Computational Tool Predicts Mammalian Messenger RNA Degradation Rates

A tool called Saluki, trained with mouse and human messenger RNA data, appears to improve mRNA half-life predictions by taking RNA and genetic features into account, a Genome Biology paper reports.

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.