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Metabolon, Harvard-Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics, Biomedical Research Center, Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s University Hospitals, NHS Trust, University of Manchester, Genomas, Hartford Hospital, Rogosin Institute, University of

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Metabolon, Harvard-Partners Collaborate on Warfarin Dosing Test
 
Metabolon announced this week that it is collaborating with the Harvard-Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics on developing a new test for warfarin dosing.
 
The alliance is aimed at determining whether a patient’s metabolomic profile will increase the likelihood of correctly dosing wafarin.
 
HPCGG is a joint effort between Harvard Medical School and Partners Healthcare medical system in the Boston area.
 
Partners is conducting a prospective study using genetic testing in an attempt to find the optimal warfarin dose for individual patients. It expects to complete sample collection from that study early this summer, after which Metabolon will conduct metabolomic analysis. HPCGG and Metabolon expect to report results from their collaboration in a peer-reviewed publication.
 
“Metabolon’s biomarker discovery platform gives us the opportunity to find biochemical markers that, along with genetic variations, might help characterize the differences between patients’ metabolism of warfarin,” Raju Kucherlapati, director of HPCGG, said in a statement.
 
Over the past couple of years, many firms have embarked on development of molecular diagnostic tests to guide warfarin dosing. Thus far, two firms — Nanosphere and Autogenomics — have gained US Food and Drug Administration clearance to market their tests.
 
Clearance of their tests followed the FDA’s update of labeling for warfarin, which explains how a person’s genetics may impact their response to the anticoagulant and “highlights the opportunity for healthcare providers to use genetic tests to improve their initial estimate of what is a reasonable warfarin dose for individual patients,” the FDA said in a statement at the time.
 
In addition to the collaboration, Partners HealthCare investigators gained preferred access to Metabolon’s global biochemical profiling platform, which extracts, identifies, and quantitates hundreds of small molecule biochemicals in a given biological sample.
 
Financial and other terms of the alliance were not disclosed.
 

 
Manchester, UK, Center to Use $69M for Genetics and Translational Research
 
A new government-funded research center in Manchester, UK, plans to set its sights on genetics and translational research that would lead to predictive tests for fetal problems and pregnancy complications, government and media sources in the UK said last week.
 
The Biomedical Research Center will include research from Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s University Hospitals, NHS Trust, and the University of Manchester, according to the British Secretary of Health.
 
The Manchester BRC will receive £7.4 million ($14.7 million) per year over four years for a total of around £35 million from the Department of Health, and it has applied for as much as £10 million per year in external grants from the North West Developmental Agency, the Manchester Evening News reported last week.
 
"The new Biomedical Research Centre in Manchester will strengthen our drive to put the UK at the forefront of vital health research and contribute to the nation's international competitiveness as a major component of our knowledge economy," Health Secretary Alan Johnson said in a statement.
 
The Manchester BRC joins several other Biomedical Research Centers in London, Oxford, Cambridge, Liverpool, and Newcastle.
 
The UK has allocated £50 million for all of the BRCs during the first year of operation and £100 million per year over the next four years. The amount allocated to each center is determined by the scale and nature of the research activity that it conducts and the anticipated impact of that activity, according to the UK’s National Institute for Health Research.
 
In addition to developing a predictive test for pregnancy complications, the Manchester BRC will use genetic technologies to improve diagnosis and treatment in other areas including sudden cardiac death, developmental disease, disadvantaged populations, and inflammatory bowel disease.
 

 
Genomas, Partners Share SBIR Grant for DNA-Guided Therapy Management System
 
Genomas, along with partners from Hartford Hospital, the Rogosin Institute, and the University of California San Francisco, will use a $1.2 million Small Business Innovation Research grant to develop DNA-guided clinical management systems to predict and compare an individual's risk of certain adverse reactions to statin medications, the company said last week.
 
Statins are among the most popularly prescribed drugs in the world, but also have adverse nerve and muscle-related side effects such as aches, cramps, weakness, and injury that disable 10 percent of the patients and require therapeutic changes.
 
The research that led to the award was conducted by Hartford Hospital and UCSF and was published in the September 2007 journal Muscle & Nerve.
 
The Hartford, Conn.-based company will integrate the knowledge of Hartford Hospital with its physiogenomics technology to develop the PhyzioType Clinical Management System, which will include a group of inherited DNA markers genotyped by arrays and interpreted by an algorithm. The system will help doctors predict and compare the risk of side effects for individual patients, the company said.
 
Genomas noted that to date it has received $3.1 million in NIH SBIR funding to develop the PhyzioType.
 

 
Cenix to Analyze Drug Candidates for CellCentric
 
RNAi research services company Cenix BioScience said last week it has signed an agreement to help CellCentric validate oncology drug candidates.
 
Dresden, Germany-based Cenix said it will combine high-throughput applications of RNAi-based gene silencing with high-content phenotypic analyses in cultured human cells to provide in vitro validation of several of CellCentric’s drug candidates.
 
Cenix will adapt microscopy-based assays that use an image analysis platform made by Definiens to make discoveries about cellular functions and loss-of-function phenotypes of genes across multiple cell lines.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

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