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Immune Tolerance Network and Expression Analysis, American Academy of Microbiology, IntegraGen, Perlegen Sciences and AstraZeneca, and GE Healthcare


Immune Tolerance Network Chooses Expression Analysis as Microarray Core Facility

The Immune Tolerance Network has chosen Expression Analysis to serve as its microarray core facility, the company said this week.

Using Affymetrix GeneChips, EA over the next 20 months will help support clinical trials for the ITN, an international collaborative research project involving more than 70 scientists and clinical professionals.

Terms of the deal call for EA to provide the ITN with a single-source environment for processing clinical trials samples submitted from multiple locations. EA said it expects to process several thousand clinical samples during the initial contract period.

Founded in Durham, NC, in 2001, EA offers high-throughput sample processing and statistical support for microarray-based gene-expression, genotyping, and resequencing.

AAM Proposes Initiative to Boost Genome Annotation

The American Academy of Microbiology has issued a report proposing steps that can help overcome the challenge of annotating the numerous genomes that have been sequenced over the past decade, the group said this week.

According to the AAM, it is recommending that a centralized genome annotation initiative be established in the US.

The proposed initiative would include "a centrally organized database of peer-reviewed, experimentally verified gene annotations tied to catalogs of genes that have yet to be annotated and known biochemical functions for which a gene has yet to be found," the AAM said.

The AAM also said that a lack of available funding is a primary reason progress in genomic annotation has been slow, and that the annotation initiative provide flexible funding to support experiments in the field.

A full copy of the AAM's report, entitled "An Experimental Approach to Genome Annotation," along with its recommendations, can be found here.

IntegraGen Joins EU Consortium in 14.5M Project to Study Genetics of Obesity

IntegraGen has joined a consortium of 30 European research organizations that was recently awarded €14.5 million ($18.8 million) by the EU’s Sixth Framework program to study the genetics of obesity, the company said this week.

The so-called DiOgenes (Diet, Obesity, and Genes) project will investigate a range of factors believed to influence weight gain, from diet intervention to gene-nutrient interactions. The ultimate goal of the project is to develop personalized diet-based regimes, IntegraGen said.

Initial studies will draw from a DNA bank of more than 13,000 individuals, with additional analysis carried out on samples provided from longitudinal, multi-country, dietary studies.

IntegraGen, based in Paris, said that it will study gene-nutrient interactions “that will enable the prediction of individual responses to nutrients and their impact on body weight.”

The company said that it has already identified five genes associated with obesity.

Further information about the DiOgenes project is available here.

Perlegen to Conduct Second Genotyping Study for AstraZeneca

Perlegen Sciences will conduct a second genotyping study for AstraZeneca, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company said this week.

Under the agreement, Perlegen will determine SNPs in individuals with an undisclosed trait of interest as well as in controls.

One year ago, the two companies announced their first collaboration to study the genetics of myocardial infarction.

GE Healthcare’s Revenues Jump 30 Percent, Driven By Biosciences Products

GE Healthcare saw its revenues jump by almost 30 percent during the fourth quarter of 2004, contributing $4.3 billion, or about 10 percent, to GE’s total revenues. Healthcare’s revenues were $3.3 billion during the same quarter a year ago.

GE Healthcare’s profits also increased steeply, to $860 million, up from $572 million during the same quarter in 2003. These profits accounted for about 13 percent of GE’s total profits for the quarter.

GE said that orders for Healthcare products and services increased by 25 percent to $4.4 billion during the quarter, compared to the same period in 2003.

The Biosciences unit, which used to be Amersham and was not part of GE in 2003, contributed $800 million to the overall orders, meaning that former Amersham contributed approximately 90 percent to the 25 percent increase in orders.

For the last quarter of 2003, Amersham reported £451 million ($859 million) in sales.

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Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.