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NHGRI, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Applied Biosystems, Spotfire, Applied Biosystems, Strand Genomics, Cepheid, Roche, Althea Technologies, Iain Mattaj

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New Centers of Excellence at Harvard, Johns Hopkins to Focus on Epigenetics

The National Human Genome Research Institute has awarded two new grants to establish Centers of Excellence in Genomic Science at Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

According to NHGRI, the two new centers will assemble interdisciplinary teams of researchers to make advances in genomics. The Harvard center will be focused on developing technologies for genomic molecular imaging, while the Johns Hopkins center will work on advancing the field of epigenetics, NHGRI said.

“These centers represent two more key building blocks in our effort to lay the groundwork for new genomic approaches to the study of human biology and disease,” NHGRI drector Francis Collins said in a statement. “As the newest participants in our CEGS Program, they are part of our effort to pull together researchers from different disciplines in a way that will foster extraordinary collaborations that will advance not only the field of genomics, but biomedical research as a whole.”


Injunctions force Bio-Rad, MJ Research to Stop Selling RT-PCR Machines in Germany

Applied Biosystems has obtained injunctions against Bio-Rad Laboratories, MJ Research, and MJ Research distributor Biozym in Germany, prohibiting these companies from manufacturing and selling thermal cyclers for real-time PCR, ABI said last week.

The injunctions were issued by the German District Court in D sseldorf. The court found that Bio-Rad Laboratories, MJ Research, and MJ Research distributor Biozym infringe a German patent corresponding to European Patent No. 872562, issued to ABI’s parent company Applera in Septembrer 2002.

In April 2003, ABI obtained a similar injunction against Bio-Rad in Japan based on a Japanese patent.


Spotfire, Applied Biosystems Ink Gene Expression Technology Deal

Spotfire has signed a deal with Applied Biosystems to combine certain of their technologies for human gene expression research, the firms said this week.

Terms of the deal call for Applied Biosystems to build analysis capabilities on top of Spotfire’s DecisionSite platform, and offer 90-day evaluation licenses of Spotfire’s DecisionSite for Function Genomics software.


Strand Receives $1M Grant from Indian Government; Licenses Software to Abgenix

Strand Genomics has received approximately $1 million in funding from the Indian government, and has licensed its microarray analysis software to Abgenix, the company said this week.

Strand, based in Bangalore, India, said it will use the funding from the Technology Development Board to further develop and market the enterprise version of its Avadis microarray gene expression analysis software.

Abgenix, a biopharma company based in Fremont, Calif., focusing on antibodies, has signed up for a site license to the enterprise edition of Avadis.


Cepheid Takes PCR License from Roche for In Vitro Diagnostics

Cepheid has licensed several PCR-related patents from Roche for in vitro diagnostic products, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company said last week.

The non-exclusive license comprises Roche patents covering the PCR process, reverse transcription-based methods, nucleic acid quantification methods, real-time PCR detection, and methods for the detection of viral and cancer targets.

Cepheid is permitted to make, use, and sell products based on these technologies for in vitro human diagnostics, except for human identify testing and pathogen detection for blood bank screening and plasma fractionation, the company said.

Cepheid will pay Roche a licensing fee and ongoing royalties on sales of relevant products.


Althea Awarded NIH Toxicology Grant

Althea Technologies has received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a low cost mechanism for translating gene-expression-based research in toxicology into validated, high-throughput expression screens for the assessment of a range of different toxicological and disease mechanistic endpoints.

The amount of the funding, through the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, was not disclosed.

The approach will use Althea’s eXpress Profiling technology, a high-throughput, highly-multiplexed, quantitative RT-PCR-based gene expression analysis technique, which was recently licensed to Beckman Coulter.

The new grant will focus on the development and validation of gene sets and predictive classifiers for specific and important toxicological endpoints. Althea’s aim is to provide a roadmap for translating microarray-based discoveries into high throughput, low cost assays and validating their use in the drug discovery and development processes, the company said.


Iain Mattaj to Succeed Fotis Kafatos as head of EMBL

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory has chosen Iain Mattaj to serve as director-general following the departure of Fotis Kafatos, whose term ends next May, the group said this week.

Mattaj joined EMBL in 1985, and was appointed scientific director for the organization in 1999. His early research focused on assemblies of RNA and protein in the cell, and he characterized mechanisms of macromolecular transport between the nucleus and the cytoplasm.

Mattaj will be EMBL’s fourth director-general since the laboratory was founded in 1974.

Filed under

The Scan

Possibly as Transmissible

Officials in the UK say the B.1.617.2 variant of SARS-CoV-2 may be as transmitted as easily as the B.1.1.7 variant that was identified in the UK, New Scientist reports.

Gene Therapy for SCID 'Encouraging'

The Associated Press reports that a gene therapy appears to be effective in treating severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome.

To Watch the Variants

Scientists told US lawmakers that SARS-CoV-2 variants need to be better monitored, the New York Times reports.

Nature Papers Present Nautilus Genome, Tool to Analyze Single-Cell Data, More

In Nature this week: nautilus genome gives peek into its evolution, computational tool to analyze single-cell ATAC-seq data, and more.