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NABsys, Brown University, Macrogen, ABI, Orion Genomics, Wash U, Whatman/Schleicher & Schuell, NHGRI, Cepheid


NABsys Licenses Nanopore IP for DNA Sequencing from Brown University in Exchange for Equity

NABsys has exclusively licensed nanopore technology from Brown University to commercialize it for DNA sequencing, the Providence, RI-based company said this week.

Under the agreement, NABsys obtains exclusive worldwide rights to certain intellectual property in exchange for a "significant equity interest" issued to Brown University.

The nanopore technology was developed by Xinsheng Sean Ling, an associate professor of physics at Brown and a co-founder of NABsys. Ling recently received a $1.55 million grant from the National Science Foundation to pursue his research.

Macrogen Uses ABI Array Tech to Provide Gene Expression Services to Korean Regulators

Macrogen of Korea will provide gene expression-analysis services to the Korean National Institute of Toxicological Research using microarray technology from Applied Biosystems, the companies said this week.

Researchers at NITR, which operates under the Korean Food and Drug Administration, will use ABI's Expression Array system to develop predictive gene signatures and toxicology evaluation technology for food and drugs, including traditional herbal medicines.

The project complements other studies by NITR, such as a genomic and proteomic expression database for unidentified toxic substances, herbal medicines, and biotechnological product evaluation. The aim of the studies is to standardize food and drug safety measurements and to establish evaluation criteria.

Orion Genomics, Wash U to Co-develop Cancer Tests Based on Methylated DNA

Orion Genomics is collaborating with researchers at Washington University in St. Louis to discover diagnostic cancer biomarkers, the St. Louis-based company said this week.

In several collaborations, scientists at Orion and Washington University will study common cancers, including lung, breast, cervical, prostate, and ovarian cancer, to find DNA methylation-based biomarkers of cancer and those that indicate how a cancer will respond to certain therapies.

Orion plans to develop tests that detect trace amounts of methylated tumor DNA in tissues such as blood serum, biopsies, and cell scraps, and expects to market them within three years.

Whatman/Schleicher & Schuell and German Clinical Dx Lab to Market Protein Chip-Based Autoimmune Assay

Whatman/Schleicher & Schuell and the Private Institute for Immunology and Molecular Genetics of Germany plan to market a diagnostic protein biochip for autoimmune diseases they have co-developed, Whatman said last week.

The chip, based on Whatman/Schleicher & Schuell's nitrocellulose-coated FAST slides, allows researchers to measure autoantibodies associated with collagenosis and vasculititis-related autoimmune diseases.

At the moment, the chip is being validated for compliance with CE guidelines for in vitro diagnostics. The companies plan to launch the diagnostic test at the end of the year.

NHGRI Doles Out $32M in New Sequencing Grants; Adds to Last Year's $38M Funding

The National Human Genome Research Institute has awarded grants totaling more than $32 million to advance the development of new technologies designed to cut the cost of DNA sequencing and expand the use of genomics in biomedical research and healthcare.

According to the NHGRI, the cost of DNA sequencing has fallen more than 50-fold over the past 10 years. However, it still costs about $10 million to sequence 3 billion base pairs. These grants add to the $38 million the NGHRI issued last October to help pay for the development on newer sequencing technologies.

The NHGRI said it would like to see the cost of sequencing a mammalian-sized genome cut to $100,000 in the near-term. Among the researchers who received grants to achieve this goal are Agencourt Personal Genomics' Gina Costa, who received a commitment of $1.2 million over two years; the State University of New York's Vera Gorfinkle, who received a 2-year grant worth $1.5 million; and Network Biosystems' Greg Kellogg, who received a $4.5 million, 3-year grant.

The NHGRI also awarded numerous grants to researchers looking to cut the cost of sequencing a mammalian-sized genome to $1,000 or less. Among these grant recipients are Duke University's Richard Fair, who was awarded a $510,000, 2-year grant; Reza Ghadiri from the Scripps Research Institute and Oxford University's Hagan Bayley, who received a 5-year grant worth $4.2 million; and Stephen Turner of Nanofluidics, who received a 3-year grant worth $6.6 million.

NHGRI Ponders Devoting Sequencing Capacity to Genetic Diseases; Invites Researchers to Comment

The National Human Genome Research Institute is considering turning its sequencing capacity into a mechanism that could pinpoint genetic variations that cause human Mendelian disorders, and is trying to gauge interest for such a program.

Two weeks ago, the institute invited scientists involved in this kind of research to say whether sequencing services provided by a large-scale center would benefit them. "The NHGRI is particularly interested in cases in which a major roadblock to completing those projects could be overcome by large-scale sequencing, and where the amount of sequencing required would be prohibitive to the individual investigator," NIGRI said.

For instance, appropriate cases could be those in which a disorder has been mapped to an interval that is too large for an individual to sequence, or where the sequencing of candidate genes has not yielded success, suggesting that the relevant change resides in a noncoding region.

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Cepheid's Q2 Revenues Grow 90 Percent on Strong Reagent Sales; Loss Stays Flat

Cepheid last week reported a steep increase in revenues along with flat losses for the second quarter of 2005.

The company had $21.4 million in revenues, up 89 percent from last year's $11.3 million during the same quarter. Most of this increase resulted from sales of reagents and disposables, which increased almost fourfold.

Research and developments costs climbed to $4.5 million from 3.9 million during the year-ago period.

Cepheid reported a net loss of $3.6 million, or $.09 per share, similar to last year's $3.7 million, or $.09 per share, for the same quarter.

As of June 30, Cepheid had $18.4 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $34 million in marketable securities.


Filed under

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.