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Compugen, Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, BioCrossraods, MetriGenix, GeneXP, Genaissance, INC Research, Orion Genomics, Johns Hopkins, Gene Logic, North Carolina State University


Compugen Teams Up with
Ortho-Clinical to Turn Biomarkers

Compugen and Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, a Johnson & Johnson company, will jointly develop diagnostic tests based on Compugen's biomarkers, the Tel Aviv-based company said this week.

Initially, Ortho-Clinical will have the option to select up to nine biomarkers that the partners will clinically validate. Following successful validation, Ortho-Clinical plans to develop markers into products. In exchange for paying development milestones and revenue-based royalties, Ortho-Clinical will have worldwide rights to commercialize the tests. Compugen will also receive license fees for each commercialized biomarker.

Compugen discovered the biomarkers using its LEADS platform, which analyzes the human proteome.

Indiana Biotech Hotbed Gets Hotter
with $4M BioCrossroads Seed Fund

BioCrossraods, an initiative to develop the life science industry in Indiana, said this week that it has established a $4 million seed fund to support Indiana life science companies in the beginning stages of operation.

The Indiana Finance Authority will also contribute to the seed fund, BioCrossroads said. The fund will provide working capital to candidate companies in the range of $50,000 to $500,000, to be allocated by an investment committee that includes outside investment professionals.

According to a BioCrossroads spokesperson, the venture welcomes applications from a wide variety of companies in life science, and is not targeting any particular niches. The organization is accepting the first round of applications until Aug. 31. Applications can be found at the Indiana Seed Fund website.

In April, BioCrossroads assembled the Indiana Future Fund, a $73 million "fund of funds" to be invested in Indiana-based life sciences companies and backed by a variety of Indiana public and private institutions.

BioCrossroads said in a statement that the Indiana Seed Fund was intended to "help narrow the gap between the discovery of an idea and actual venture capital funding, and to prepare companies for future investments through vehicles like the Indiana Future Fund.

MetriGenix Acquires GeneXP to Pool
Gene Expression-Based Biomarker Efforts

MetriGenix of Toronto has acquired GeneXP Biosciences of Woburn, Mass., MetriGenix said this week.

Financial and other terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Both companies have been developing gene expression-based biomarkers for different diseases using microarray technology. The acquisition will combine their biomarker development activities "into a single portfolio that can be managed and developed faster and more efficiently," said Michael Cohen, the former president of GeneXP and new CEO of MetriGenix, in a company statement.

The combined company will continue to operate in Toronto and Woburn.

Genaissance Partners with Clinical Research
Organization to Provide Pharmacogenomic Services

Genaissance Pharmaceuticals will provide pharmacogenomic services through clinical contract research organization INC Research, the company said this week.

INC Research, based in Raleigh, NC, focuses on clinical research in oncology, pediatrics, and the central nervous system. Genaissance will offer pharmacogenetic clinical development sevices to INC's clients.

This is Genaissance's first partnership with a clinical research organization, according to the company.

Orion Genomics Teams up with Johns Hopkins Researcher
to Develop DNA Methylation-Based Colon Cancer Dx

Orion Genomics and researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine will collaborate to develop a molecular diagnostic test for colon cancer, the company said this week.

Under the partnership, Andrew Feinberg, a professor of medicine, molecular biology and genetics, and oncology at Hopkins will map DNA methylation patterns in cancerous and normal colon tissues using Orion's MethylScope technology.

Orion plans to use the methylation patterns to develop a new type of molecular diagnostic test for colon cancer.

Two of Gene Logic's Japanese
Customers Renew Subscriptions

Two Japanese customers of GeneLogic have renewed their subscriptions to its BioExpress database, the company said this week.

The companies -- Takeda Pharmaceutical and Daiichi Pharmaceutical -- have been subscribers for the last three years. Takeda is now signed on until the end of 2006 and purchased a perpetual license to the data content as of the expiration date of the latest agreement. Daiichi signed up for several more years and will use the system primarily for drug discovery research, with an option to expand to other areas.

Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

Gene Logic's BioExpress consists of genomic and clinical information from a range of normal and pathological human tissues, as well as animal model system tissues and cell lines.

NC State Wins $2M from NIH to
Study Genomics of Glaucoma

Researchers at North Carolina State University have received $2 million from the NIH's National Eye Institute to study the genomics of glaucoma.

Under the 4-year grant, entitled "Comparative Genomics of Glaucoma," which started in April, the scientists will search for genes that undergo altered transcriptional regulation during the early stages of glaucoma both in fruit flies and people, and will identify polymorphisms of such genes that might predispose humans to glaucoma.

Glaucoma, which affects more than 60 million people worldwide, leads to irreversible blindness.

Filed under

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.