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Invitrogen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johns Hopkins University, Gene Logic, Rutgers, ParAllele BioScience, PamGene, Australian Genome Research Facility, Lucigen


Invitrogen to Acquire Molecular Probes for $325M — Six Times Revenue

Invitrogen has bought privately held Molecular Probes for $325 million in cash — a whopping six times what the company earned in sales last year.

With the sale, expected to close during the current quarter, Invitrogen hopes to position itself in the drug-discovery and -development sector, CEO Greg Lucier said in a statement.

Molecular Probes, of Eugene, Ore., makes and sells fluorescence-based technologies. The company was founded in 1975, and had $56 million in revenues in 2002.

Bristol-Myers Squibb to Use Sequenom’s MassArray Tech to Study Disease Targets

Bristol-Myers Squibb will use Sequenom’s MassArray technology and DNA sample library to evaluate specific undisclosed disease targets.

The genotyping company said it will receive milestone payments and royalties on products that result from the collaboration.

Johns Hopkins Buys BeadLab from Illumina

Johns Hopkins University has bought one of Illumina’s BeadLab SNP-genotyping labs. The school will install the platform in its Genetic Resources Core Facility, which will use it to perform whole-genome and fine-mapping studies. The Center for Inherited Disease Research at Johns Hopkins will also use the platform. The GRCF will also be able to sell genotyping services performed on the BeadLab outside the university.

Five Prime Therapeutics Subscribes To Gene Logic’s BioExpress Platform

Five Prime Therapeutics has purchased a subscription to Gene Logic’s BioExpress Custom Suite, a subset of gene-expression data from the company’s GeneExpress database.

Five Prime will use the data as part of its therapeutics discovery efforts. Gene Logic will also generate additional gene expression data using proprietary microarrays developed by Five Prime and will integrate the resulting data into the dataset.

Rutgers Wins $9.3M NIH Grant To Create Disease Biobank

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has awarded Rutgers University a five-year, $9.3 million contract to create a genetic repository.

The databank, called the Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository, will be used by researchers worldwide who study diseases such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and kidney disorders. It will “collect, maintain, and distribute” cell lines and DNA for the NIDDK from populations worldwide.

“To date, no such resource has been available to researchers interested in studying genetics of the many diseases that NIDDK investigates,” said Jay Tischfield, professor of genetics and chair of the department of genetics at Rutgers. The NIDDK is a unit of the National Institutes of Health.

ParAllele, Merck Collaborate On SNP Genotyping Research

ParAllele BioScience and Merck have penned a SNP-genotyping collaboration. ParAllele will develop assays, perform multiplexed genotyping, and provide data analysis using its lab-in-a-tube technology, a multiplex system of single-tube assays for discovering and screening genetic markers.

PamGene Raises €10M in Second Financing Round

Dutch microarray maker PamGene said today that it has raised €10 million, or $11.4 million, in a second financing round led by LCF Rothschild Venture Partners. Additional investors included Alta Partners, GIMV Venture Capital, and Life Sciences Partners.

PamGene said the new funds would go toward development and marketing of its PamStation 96 microarray platform, which is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2004.

As a result of the financing, Raphael Wisniewski, investment manager at LCF Rothschild, will join PamGene’s supervisory board, which is chaired by Jean Deleage of Alta Partners, and also includes Mark Wegter of LSP, Patrick van Beneden of GIMV, Ralph Martinke of Olympus, and Ton Stap of BioMerieux.

Australians Use Mutated Genes to Plug Gaps in Human Genome Sequence

Researchers from the Australian Genome Research Facility at the University of Queensland have developed a method that may help to plug the 400 gaps in the human genome sequence.

Some sections of DNA are particularly difficult to sequence because they are toxic to E. coli, in which they are grown. The new technique, introduced last week at the 19th International Congress of Genetics in Melbourne, involves mutating the DNA so that it is no longer toxic to the algorithm, cloning and sequencing it, and then using an algorithm to determine the DNA’s original sequence. The method has only been applied thus far to small sections of DNA, but AGRF researchers are confident that it can be tuned up for use with longer stretches.

The researchers working on this project hope to find funds from overseas commercial companies to expand their operations, according to Keith Mitchelson, one of the scientists.

Lucigen Wins $750K SBIR Grant For Gene Mining Technology

Lucigen pocketed a $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the US Department of Energy to commercialize its Single Cell Genomics gene-mining technology. The grant is funded through the DOE’s Genomes to Life Program.

Single Cell Genomics technology allows for the isolation and cloning of genes from a single cell or virus. The technology can be used to find new product sources by mining cells and viruses that can’t be cultured in a laboratory. Lucigen is based in Middleton, Wis.

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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.