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HapMap Consortium, Applera and European Patent Office, National Cancer Institute, and Ocimum Biosolutions and Genome Explorations

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HapMap Project Dismantles Click-Wrap Regs — All Data Now Fully Available

The International HapMap Consortium is ending its computer-based click-wrap license restrictions, making HapMap data completely available to the public, the organization said last week.

Researchers willing to obtain certain genotype data from the HapMap Project website [http://www.hapmap.org/] had been required to affirm they will “not take any action (including patenting) that would restrict the access of others to the data within it or share the data with anyone who has not read these terms and conditions and agreed to them.”

Specifically, researchers could have freely downloaded information in the database about SNPs, SNP assays, and allele and genotype frequencies, according to the project’s website. However, users will be required to complete a click-wrap license agreement when they want to view data about the genotypes related to those SNPs.

These data will be “gradually released,” according to project organizers. “Once there is a sufficient density of genotype information in a chromosome region to derive haplotype information, the derived haplotypes and the underlying individual genotypes in that region will also be publicly released to dbSNP without restriction,” the project organizers said.

Read Pharmacogenomics Reporter, 12/18/2003 for more information about the HapMap’s erstwhile click-wrap regulations.


EPO Revokes Applera’s European Real-Time PCR Thermal Cycler Patent for Infringement

The European Patent Office has revoked an Applera patent covering real-time PCR thermal cycler technology, Applied Biosystems said last week.

The agency, based in Munich, Germany, revoked European Patent No. 872562.

“We disagree with the EPO’s ruling and will seek to have the patent reinstated through the appeal process,” Catherine Burzik, president of ABI, said in a statement.

In June, ABI obtained injunctions from a German court that enjoined Bio-Rad Laboratories, MJ Research, and Biozym, an MJ Research distributor in Germany, from manufacturing and selling thermal cyclers for real-time PCR. The court found that the defendants infringed a German patent corresponding to European Patent No. 872562, issued to ABI’s parent company Applera in September 2002.

The actions are part of a global effort by Applera to enforce its intellectual property in instrumentation used for real-time PCR.

In November, Applera received a US patent covering its real-time PCR instrumentation, and then filed suit against Bio-Rad, Bio-Rad subsidiary MJ Research, and Stratagene for allegedly infringing the patent.


NCI Gives $13.4M to Two Consortia to create Standards, Resources for Discovery of Cancer Biomarkers

Two proteomics research consortia led by the University of Michigan and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have received grants totaling $13.4 million from the National Cancer Institute to develop standard tools and resources for protein biomarker discovery, NCI said last week.

Under the two-year awards, the researchers will use mouse models of human cancers to evaluate and develop proteomic techniques, and to create resources of biological samples and reagents for the research community. The aim is to create a technological platform for the discovery and clinical validation of protein biomarkers for cancer.

The research teams, led by former HUPO president Sam Hanash at the University of Michigan and by Martin McIntosh and Amanda Paulovich at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, will collect and distribute their data through the cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid, caBIG.

The University of Michigan consortium includes scientists from the Harvard Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics, MIT, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Van Andel Research Institute, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The team led by the Hutchinson Center includes researchers from the Institute for Systems Biology, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the Plasma Proteome Institute.


Ocimum and Genome Explorations to Offer Microarray Analysis Services in India

Ocimum Biosolutions of India and US-based Genome Explorations will collaborate to provide microarray gene expression services to researchers in India, Ocimum said last week.

Under the agreement, Ocimum will initially distribute Genome Explorations' gene expression services to customers in India, sending samples for analysis to Genome Explorations' Memphis, Tenn.-based facility.

Later on, the two companies plan to open a microarray profiling facility in India.

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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.