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EraGen, Intradigm, Linden Bioscience, Cepheid, Corning, Promega, Biolog, Lark Technologies, Psychiatric Genomics


EraGen Wins NIAID Grant For Bioweapon Diagnostics

EraGen Biosciences has won a biodefense grant worth nearly $1 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop diagnostics for bioweapons detection.

Under the two-and-a-half-year grant, EraGen will modify its GeneCode sample-quantitation and genotyping technology to detect several Category A bioweapon agents — those that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined would cause the greatest harm if intentionally released.

The company said it recently delivered its SARS testing system to the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, three international Centers for Disease Control, and Asian health organizations.

Intradigm Develops siRNA SARS Inhibitor

Intradigm has developed siRNA that is claimed can inhibit 90 percent of the SARS virus in cell-based studies.

The Rockville, Md.-based company collaborated with Qiagen to design the siRNA, which targeted specific genes throughout the SARS genome. Qiagen synthesized the siRNA, and the product was tested in laboratories in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China, using non-human primate cells exposed to the virus.

Top Biotech, of Hong Kong, sponsored the effort along with the provincial government of Guangdong province, China. Scientists from Guangzhou Medical University and Zhongshan University of Guangzhou, as well as Hong Kong University also worked on the project.

Linden to Design Oligo Probes for PamGene

Linden Bioscience will provide its Tilia oligonucloetide probe-design service to Dutch biotech firm PamGene International. PamGene plans to use the probes with its 5D-Pulse microarray platform, which is the basis for the company’s FD10 system and soon-to-be launched PamStation 96 microarray system.

Cepheid Sells Pathogen Detection Systems to FDA

Cepheid has sold 16 of its Smart Cycler II starter systems to the US Food and Drug Administration for general use in food-safety testing. Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Cepheid said roughly 60 percent of state public health institutions use Smart Cycler systems for pathogen detection.

Corning, Promega to Develop Self-Printing Array Reagent System

Corning and Promega will jointly develop, manufacture, and commercialize a system of reagents for home-brew microarrays. The integrated system of slides and reagents, called Pronto! Plus, will join Corning’s Pronto! microarray reagent system with Promega’s SV Total RNA isolation system, ChipShot labeling system, and ChipShot labeling cleanup system.

Biolog Gets Grant to Develop Bioterror Agent Detection Tools

Biolog has received a $2.28 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop genomic-based bacterial identification tools. These tools, which Biolog will develop with its Phenotype MicroArray cellular-assay technology, will enable microbiology labs to detect and identify a variety of bacteria, including ones that could be used for bioterrorism.

Lark Prepares Stock Split as Nasdaq Small-cap beckons

Lark Technologies shareholders have approved a proposal to amend the company’s certificate of incorporation, and to create a 1-for-100 reverse stock split, followed immediately by a 100-for-1 forward stock split.

As a result of the so-called reverse/forward split, shareholders with fewer than 100 shares will be eligible to receive a cash payment of $4.31 per share. All registered shareholders holding 100 or more shares were unaffected, and the total number of shares held by these investors did not change, Lark said.

The company hopes the move will cut by almost 70 percent the total number of shareholders to approximately 797 from around 2,549. Lark expects the split to save it “substantial” money, and called it “a necessary step” as it prepares to move from the OTC exchange to the Nasdaq Small Cap exchange.

Psychiatric Genomics Closes on $6M Funding

Psychiatric Genomics has closed $6 million from the Stanley Medical Research Institute of Bethesda, Md., a non-profit research organization. Michael Knable, executive director at Stanley, will join Psychiatric Genomics’ board of directors.

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The Scan

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

US Survey Data Suggests Ancestry Testing Leads Way in Awareness, Use of Genetic Testing Awareness

Although roughly three-quarters of surveyed individuals in a Genetics in Medicine study reported awareness of genetic testing, use of such tests was lower and varied with income, ancestry, and disease history.

Coral Genome Leads to Alternative Amino Acid Pathway Found in Other Non-Model Animals

An alternative cysteine biosynthesis pathway unearthed in the Acropora loripes genome subsequently turned up in sequences from non-mammalian, -nematode, or -arthropod animals, researchers report in Science Advances.

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.