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Invitrogen, Genome Quebec, Montreal Heart Institute, Dako, Bristol-Myers Squibb BioTrove, Gene Express, National Cancer Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Fraunhofer Institute, Affymetrix

Invitrogen Teams with Canadian Researchers on PGx Research
Invitrogen said this week that it will collaborate with researchers at Genome Quebec and the Montreal Heart Institute Pharmacogenomics Centre on a pharmacogenomics research project.
Specifically, Invitrogen said that the partners aim to develop novel methodologies and reagents for targeted medical resequencing.
Researchers at the Pharmacogenomics Centre are trying to identify new SNPs within around 200 specific ADME/Tox-related genes that affect drug metabolism. The collaboration with Invitrogen is meant to accelerate this effort, the partners said in a statement.
“This collaboration offers Invitrogen the opportunity to work closely with thought leaders in the field of pharmacogenomics and to better understand this emerging area of research,” said Rob Bennett, Invitrogen’s vice president of advanced sequencing applications, in a statement.

Dako to Develop Cancer Companion Dx for Bristol-Myers Squibb
Dako said last week that it will collaborate with drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb to develop clinical diagnostics as companions to cancer therapeutics.
The Danish diagnostics firm plans to develop clinical diagnostics that can identify cancer patients who may benefit from drug candidates that Bristol-Myers Squibb has in development.
Dako CEO Patrick Dahlen said the tests it develops under the collaboration will be companion products for specific Bristol-Myers Squibb therapeutics.
Further terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

BioTrove, Gene Express Awarded NCI Grant to Co-Develop Lung Cancer Risk Dx Platform
BioTrove and Gene Express said this week that they have been awarded a two-year grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop a genetic profiling test for the risk of lung cancer in collaboration with Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
The researchers will combine BioTrove’s OpenArray PCR platform, Gene Express’ PCR standards, and Mount Sinai’s clinical knowledge to study genetic biomarkers linked to lung cancer.
Funded through the NCI’s Innovative Technologies for Molecular Analysis of Cancer program, the research will aim to develop a gene expression profiling system called Standardized Nanoarray PCR, or SNAP.
The SNAP system will be based on the Gene Express Standardized RT PCR method to control for false negatives and false positives and the BioTrove OpenArray nanofluidic PCR platform, which will “enable large-scale analyses with minimal sample requirements.”
According to the companies, the resulting system “will provide the same quality and dynamic range of standard real-time quantitative PCR, but with simplified workflow and reduced sample requirements — an important consideration when dealing with limited clinical samples.”
Once the tool is developed, the companies said it will undergo an independent evaluation at the Harvard University School of Dental Medicine and at Stanford University’s Genome Technology Center.
"A real need exists for point-of-care gene expression analysis, but without standardized measurements for expression patterns, current technology cannot produce reliable results,” said Gene Express’ executive VP of corporate development, David Lester, in a statement.

German Researchers Using Affymetrix Tech for Liver Toxicity Dx
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany are using Affymetrix’s Whole Transcript gene expression technology to develop a diagnostic test to detect drug-induced liver toxicity, the company said last week.
Drug-induced liver toxicity is a common side effect of drug therapies and is “the most frequent reason why registered drugs are withdrawn from the market,” Affy said.
There is now “no reliable method to forecast the progression of various types of DILI,” and a tool that could be used to detect these could save around $2 billion per year in the US, Affy added.
The study is being led by Juergen Borlak, director of the Fraunhofer Institute of Toxicology and Experimental Medicine and head of the Institute of Pharmaco- and Toxicogenomics at the Hannover Medical School.
The Hannover Medical School is the largest liver transplant center in Europe, Affy said.
The company said the institute hopes to have a diagnostic tool ready for launch in the spring of 2009.

Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

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