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DeCode Genetics, GlaxoSmithKline, Tm Bioscience, Transgenomic, NIH, NCI

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Class-Action Lawsuits Against DeCode Genetics Dropped

Lawsuits filed in September and October against DeCode Genetics and some of its officers and directors were dropped by plaintiffs, who did not receive any payments or fees in connection with the suits, DeCode said this week in a statement.

"[The suits] will all die," Kari Stefansson, DeCode CEO, told Pharmacogenomics Reporter in December.

All six of the original suits were filed between Sept. 1 and Oct. 12. They alleged that the company made "materially false and misleading statements" regarding its financial situation between the end of the third quarter 2003 and Aug. 26, 2004 — the day its independent accountant, PricewaterhouseCoopers, resigned (see Pharmacogenomics Reporter, 10/21/2004).

The suits claimed that the statements artificially inflated DeCode's stock, along with overly optimistic statements and financial figures.

Due to high pleading standards, "20 to 30 percent" of these types of cases are ultimately dismissed, and nearly all those remaining will be settled out of court, said a person familiar with the case. Plaintiffs must prove either reckless negligence or knowledge of fraud, he said.


Class-Action Lawsuit Filed Against GlaxoSmithKline

The law firm Stull, Stull, & Brody said this week it had filed a class-action suit against GlaxoSmithKline on behalf of purchasers of Glaxo's stock. The suit alleges that Glaxo violated securities laws by "issuing false or misleading statements" concerning "deficiencies" in its selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor Paxil, which the US Food and Drug Administration linked to suicidal tendencies in young people, the law firm said.


Tm Bioscience to Provide Quest with Tag-It Reagents for Genetic Tests

Tm Bioscience will supply Quest Diagnostics with Tag-It reagents for genetic tests, the companies said this week.

Under the agreement, Tm Bioscience will initially provide its analyte specific reagents for eight genes. Mutations in these genes occur at a higher frequency in the Ashkenazi Jewish population.

The companies did not disclose any financial details.

Tm Bioscience's Tag-It assays use a proprietary tag system and operate on a Luminex xMap bead-based array system.


Transgenomic Revenues Drop 14 Percent, Loss Narrows in Q1

Transgenomic this week reported a 14-percent dip in revenues but a narrowed loss for the first quarter of 2005.

The company's revenues in the quarter receded to $7.4 million from $8.6 million during the year-ago period. While revenues from its BioSystems segment climbed 8 percent, to $6.9 million, revenues from the Nucleic Acids segment dropped 80 percent, to $400,000. This decrease is consistent with the company's exist from oligonucleotide manufacturing last year, according to a company statement.

Research and development costs dropped to $606,000 from $1.9 million during last year's first quarter.

The company's net loss narrowed to $2.9 million, or $.1 per share, down from $3.9 million, or $.13 per share, during the same quarter in 2004.

As of March 31, Transgenomic had $1.5 million in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments.


NIH Sets Aside $10M for New PGx-Related Funding Opportunities

Three institutes of the National Institutes of Health have set aside more than $10 million over the next three years in a search for the design and analysis of genome-wide association studies for a variety of diseases, according to a request for applications issued by the agency last week.

The purpose of the request, which can be seen here, is to "develop and test innovative, informative, and cost-effective study designs and analytical strategies to perform genome-wide association studies on diseases such as those affecting the heart, lung, blood, and sleep."

The initiative, which is set to run until July 2005, is a joint effort between the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the National Human Genome Research Institute; the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

The NHLBI intends to commit $1.8 million in FY 2006 and $5.4 million over three years to fund five to six new grants; the NIEHS will commit $500,000 in FY 2006 and $1.5 million over three years to fund one to two new grants; and the NIGMS has earmarked $300,000 in FY 2006 and $900,000 over three years to fund one new grant. NHGRI will conduct the peer review of applications and manage the program, according to the request.

The funding opportunity will use the U01 award mechanism, and is open to both for-profit and nonprofit organizations.


NCI Awards $11M for Biomarker Studies Under Early Detection Research Network

The National Cancer Institute has awarded 13 grants worth a total of $11 million to fund research for the next five years under its Early Detection Research Network, the agency said last week.

Four of the grants go to institutions not previously funded by EDRN, whose goal is to establish validated biological markers that are ready for large-scale clinical testing. The funding covers three of the network's four components: clinical epidemiology and validation centers, biomarker reference laboratories, and a data management and coordinating center, as well as an informatics center. Funding for the fourth component, biomarker development laboratories, was awarded late last year.

Funding for epidemiology and validation centers goes to the University of Michigan, Brigham and Women's Hospital, the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Creighton University in Omaha, Johns Hopkins University, New York University School of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, University of Texas Health Science Center, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Biomarkers reference laboratories funding was awarded to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Johns Hopkins University, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Alabama, and the University of Maryland.

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center received funding for the data management and coordinating center, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration California Institute of Technology for the informatics center.

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The Scan

Dropped Charges

The US Justice Department has dropped visa fraud charges against five Chinese researchers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

More Kids

The Associated Press says Moderna is expanding its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine study to included additional children and may include even younger children.

PNAS Papers on Rat Clues to Human Migration, Thyroid Cancer, PolyG-DS

In PNAS this week: ancient rat genome analysis gives hints to human migrations, WDR77 gene mutations in thyroid cancer, and more.

Purnell Choppin Dies

Purnell Choppin, a virologist who led the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has died at 91, according to the Washington Post.