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CombiMatrix, Retrovirology Laboratory irsiCaixa, ABI, Paradigm Genetics, Cepheid, Illumina, BeadLab, Sequenom, Molecular Probes, TGen, Agencourt

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European AIDS Research Center to Test CombiMatrix siRNA against HIV

CombiMatrix and the Retrovirology Laboratory irsiCaixa, an AIDS research center based in Barcelona, will test the efficacy of CombiMatrix’s pooled siRNA compounds against the HIV-1 virus.

The project is CombiMatrix’s second collaboration based on its siRNA platform, following an earlier collaboration based on SARS with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

CombiMatrix, an operating division of Acacia Research, said it is targeting a number of other viruses with the siRNA platform, including HIV-2, West Nile, human papillomavirus type 16, human herpes 8, smallpox, influenza A, influenza B, hepatitis C, and leishmania RNA.


ABI Announces Winners of SNP-Grant Competition

Rajinder Kaul, scientific coordinator of the University of Washington Genome Center in Seattle, won a $250,000 SNP-genotyping grant.

Kaul will receive will receive up to $250,000 in ABI SNP-genotyping products to support his research, which is a project to determine complete patterns of DNA sequence variation from 30 chromosomes covering a one-megabase region around the gene mutated in cystic fibrosis on human chromosome 7.

The grant program, originally announced in February, also awarded three supplementary grants, which will also cover ABI SNP genotyping products or services. The awardees are Dawn Richardson, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Texas; Stephen Sawcer, a clinician scientist from the neurology unit at the University of Cambridge, UK; and Sue Rutherford, a postdoctoral fellow from the department of endocrinology, diabetes, and nutrition, at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md.


Paradigm Genetics, University of North Carolina Pen Marker-Discovery Pact

Paradigm Genetics, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Science will study the mechanism of acetaminophen toxicity in liver in hopes of identifying a diagnostic product to assess liver damage and patient response.

Terms of the collaboration — the second major step for Paradigm into the drug-discovery arena — call for Paradigm to conduct biochemical profiling experiments on tissue and biofluid samples from rats and humans exposed to acetaminophen.

The company will then “integrate” the results with gene-expression profiling and histopathology data from the NIEHS, as well as from clinical data from UNC to discover biomarkers “that provide better sensitivity and precision in predicting the onset of liver toxicity and disease prognosis,” Paradigm said.

Paradigm made its first foray into biomarker and drug discovery in April when the NIEHS, a unit of the US National Institutes of Health, agreed to pay it $23.8 million over five years to use gene-expression technology made by Agilent Technology to “discern what happens to an organism when an undisclosed variety of toxicants, drugs, and pesticides have been introduced.”


Cepheid Awarded Patent for Optics in I-CORE Technology

Cepheid said today it had won a patent for the optical detection system used with its I-CORE technology.

The patent, No. 6,565,815, covers aspects of the optics in the I-CORE system that allow accurate detection of multiple DNA molecules at once in a single reaction chamber.

The I-CORE, or Integrated Cooling/heating Optical Reaction system, is designed for the amplification and detection of nucleic acids, and is integrated into the company’s Smart Cycler and GeneXpert systems.

Cepheid said it has nine other issued patents for its technology.


Shanghai Biochip Center Buys Illumina BeadLab ...

Illumina has sold a BeadLab SNP-genotyping laboratory to the National Center for Biochip Technology in Shanghai, China.

The system, to be installed at a new NCBT facility in Shanghai, will be used for large-scale genotyping projects such as the identification of genes associated with complex disease and the stratification of patient populations based on genetic differences. The BeadLab costs between $1.5 million and $2 million and can produce up to 1 million genotypes per day.

The BeadLab, which includes a BeadArray reader, GoldenGate assay protocols, LIMS and analytical software, and fluid-handling robotics, will also help support China’s participation in the International HapMap Project. Genome Quebec, which bought the same platform in January, will also use it in the HapMap project.


... and Sequenom Sells MassArray to Hong Kong Genome Research Center

Sequenom has sold one of its MassArrays to the Genome Research Center at the University of Hong Kong, which will use the genotyping instrument to perform its portion of the International HapMap Project.

The system, which costs around $500,000, joins two other installations at Japanese or Chinese labs: Systems exist at the Academia Sinica and the Shanghai Institute of Hematology.


Molecular Probes Licenses Oligo Tech to Seven Labs

Molecular Probes, which is about to be acquired by Invitrogen, has licensed its Alexa Fluor dye technologies to Japan Bioservices, Integrated DNA Technologies, Eurogentec, Synthegen, Biomers.net, Trilink Biotechnologies, and Sigma-Genosys for use in preparing custom oligonucleotide conjugates.

The Alexa Fluor dyes comprise a family of 18 spectrally distinct, highly fluorescent, and photostable products for applications like microarray research, in situ hybridization, real-time thermocycling, sequencing, protein nucleic-acid interaction studies, genotyping, and gene-expression analysis.

Sets of Alexa Fluor dyes are now available that “match every spectral requirement” of commonly available fluorescence microplate readers, microarray scanners, real-time thermocyclers, gel and blot scanners, microscopes, and DHPLC and capillary electrophoresis instruments, permitting two-, three-, four-, or even five-parameter analysis with appropriate instruments, Molecular Probes said.


TGen Spurs Software Firm to Open in Phoenix

Life sciences software firm 5AM Solutions has opened its doors in Phoenix to be near the Translational Genomics Research Institute.

5AM is headed up by Brent Gendleman (CEO) and Rob Daly (COO), who recently relocated to Phoenix from the Washington, DC area.

The firm is currently working on TGen’s bioinformatics facility, as well as a data collection system for a national microarray consortium. Dietrick Stephan, director of the TGen Neurogenomics Division, is overseeing this national microarray consortium project, which is funded by NIMH and NINDS.


Agencourt Wins good lab practices Status

Agencourt Bioscience has won the Good Laboratory Practices accreditation as a contract analytical laboratory.

Brendan McKernan, Agencourt’s vice president of manufacturing and operations, said as a result of the new status, Agencourt will “over the next several months” launch “several new service offerings for those clients seeking GLP compliance work.”

These new products will be based on Agencourt’s Discovery Solutions platform, which confers services in functional genomics and proteomics.

Filed under

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.