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NIAAA, Affymetrix, Aclara BioSciences, CyBio, Euroscreen, Pyrosequencing

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NIAAA Announces Grant For Alcoholism SNPs

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is asking labs to submit projects that would identify SNPs associated with alcoholism.

The PA, found here, emphasized the use of “advanced technologies such as high-throughput SNP genotyping, haplotype pattern mining, admixture linkage disequilibrium mapping, and DNA pooling for fine mapping” in project applications.

The announcement specified DNA and protein microarrays as two techniques that could be used for “fine mapping” of alcoholism genes. Application submission dates will have the standard February, June, and October deadlines for NIH grant submissions. No funding caps were specified in the announcement.


Affy Makes $5M Investment in Ingenuity Systems; Signs Software Distribution Deal

Affymetrix has signed a distribution agreement with Ingenuity Systems for its Pathways Analysis product, and has made a $5 million equity investment in the Mountain View, Calif.-based software company.

Under the agreement, Affymetrix will offer the Pathways Analysis software to its customers. Pathways Analysis is a web-based program that will allow Affymetrix customers the ability to connect gene expression to biologically relevant networks. It is web-based and has visualization tools and a database of annotations from life science journals.

The product is currently being beta tested and will have a limited release in September.


Aclara Signs Glaxo For eTag Access

Aclara BioSciences of Mountain View, Calif., has given GlaxoSmithKline an access agreement for its eTag Assay System. The eTag Assay System is Aclara’s high-throughput technology for the analysis of genes and proteins. Financial details were not disclosed.


CyBio and Euroscreen Expand Collaboration

CyBio of Jena, Germany, and Euroscreen of Brussels, Belgium, have expanded their existing collaboration. Under the new agreement, CyBio will have complete access to all of Euroscreen’s cell lines, assays, and membrane preparations, while CyBio will have permanent access to a CyBio luminescence imaging workstation.

Euroscreen manufactures G-protein coupled receptors and high-throughput cellular assay platforms. CyBio makes a variety of drug screening and software analysis tools, the company said.


Pyrosequencing to Acquire Neighbor Personal Chemistry ...

Pyrosequencing will acquire Swedish neighbor Personal Chemistry in order to bolster its customer base. Terms call for Pyrosequencing to buy 94.1 percent of Personal Chemistry's shares, and purchase the remaining shares through a separate agreement with the holders of options in Personal Chemistry. The acquisition will be worth approximatyely SEK89 million ($11 million) to Pyrosequencing.

When the transaction is concluded, an event expected to take place over the next two weeks, the shareholders of Personal Chemistry will control 40 percent of the shares and votes in Pyrosequencing.

The new company will have cash assets of more than SEK400 million, which "will make it possible to acquire complementary companies," said Jeff Bork, chairman of Pyrosequencing.

Personal Chemistry was founded in 1998 to develop microwave-assisted organic-chemistry technology called Coherent Synthesis. This platform comprises instruments and reagents that that were designed to hasten reaction times in drug discovery. The company is headquartered in Uppsala and employs 100 people. Their disposition following the acquisition was not immediately clear.


... As it Lays Off 35 Staffers and Posts Strong q2 Gains

Pyrosequencing has laid off 35 employees in its Uppsala, Sweden headquarters, and more will be let go before the end of the year. The layoffs will be from the administrative and R&D. Pyrosequencing stressed that the workforce reductions will not affect the company's sales force [see interview with company CFO, page 6].

In a separate announcement, Pyrosequencing reported that second-quarter earnings have increased 13 percent to SEK 17 million from SEK 16.3 million year over year.

R&D spending in the quarter swelled to SEK 22.6 million from SEK 9.6 million in the year-ago period, Pyrosequencing said. Net loss in the second quarter 2003 narrowed to SEK 42.7, or SEK 2.8 per share, from SEK 50.3, or SEK 2.37, reported in the same quarter last year.

Pyrosequencing said it had approximately SEK 97.1 million in cash, bank balances, and short-term investments as of June 30.

Filed under

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.