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President Bush and NIH, Affymetrix and Karolinska Institutet, GeneGo, PrecisionMed and Phenomenome Discoveries, and ViroLogic and GlaxoSmithKline


Bush’s ‘06 NIH Budget Boon for Some Genomic Shops, Hindrance for Others

President Bush’s proposed 2006 NIH budget increase of .7 percent may spur investment in genomics consumables shops such as Cepheid, Illumina, Invitrogen, and Serologicals, but tool makers such as Applied Biosystems are expected to have “ongoing difficulties,” according to a Pacific Growth Equities analyst report released this week.

The “tepid” budget increase, which Pac Growth quipped is “better than a sharp stick in the eye,” spurred the equity research firm to reaffirm its investment position as favorable towards companies “that address downstream development functions, particularly those companies whose product mix skews towards consumables and whose technologies may be leveraged in applied markets.”

Pac Growth said that the increase, which if approved would give the NIH a $28.8 billion budget for fiscal year 2006, was in line with its .5-percent estimate. It also said that investors would “view this modest increase ... as a positive for the life sciences sector.”

ABI did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

In a separate statement, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology expressed disappointment in the budget increase, saying in a statement yesterday that the increase was “well below the rate of inflation,” and that it was “concerned that the agency will be unable to sustain its current research program.

“The doubling of the NIH budget resulted in a massive amount of new information being generated in every field of biomedical science,” FASEB said in its statement. “However, the constrained budget over the past few years has limited NIH’s ability to build on these scientific discoveries.”

FASEB also welcomed the President’s proposed 2.4-percent budget increase for the National Science Foundation, but noted that it would still leave the NSF below its 2004 funding level. According to FASEB, the budget proposal includes a .9-percent increase for the biological directorate.

The NSF received $5.65 billion in funding in 2005; approximately $5.5 billion last year; and is slated to receive about $5.6 billion in funding in 2006, FASEB said. The US government’s fiscal year starts on Oct. 1.

Affymetrix to Provide Technology to Karolinska Institutet for Disease Studies

The Karolinska Institutet of Sweden has teamed up with Affymetrix to study gene expression and DNA sequence variation in patients with a number of diseases, the two partners said this week.

The agreement is part of Affy’s translational medicine initiative. Karolinska Institutet, based in Stockholm, will have early access to new microarray technologies from Affymetrix, including the company’s Mapping 100K array for high-density genome scans, and will be able to perform studies “at an acceptable cost,” according to Jan Carlstedt-Duke, Karolinska’s dean of research.

Further financial details of the alliance were not provided.

Over the next five years, Karolinska researchers plan to study gene expression and genetic variation in patients with atherosclerosis, breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and dyslexia.

GeneGo Wins SBIR Grant from NCI to Study Breast Cancer Networks

GeneGo has won a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Cancer Institute to study cellular networks implicated in breast cancer, the St. Joseph, Mich.-based company said this week.

GeneGo will use its MetaCore platform for mining high-throughput experimental data.

The amount of the grant was not immediately available from the company, but an NIH database listing grants for fiscal year 2005 includes a $99,880 award for GeneGo entitled “Elucidation of Protein Networks Implicated in BRCA.”

PrecisionMed and Phenomenome to collaborate on Metabolite-Based Dx for Alzheimer’s, Bipolar Disorder

PrecisionMed and Phenomenome Discoveries will collaborate to develop diagnostics for Alzheimer’s disease and bipolar disorder, the companies said last week.

Phenomenome, based in Saskatoon, Canada, will contribute its metabolomics technology to find metabolites that differ between patients and controls.

PrecisionMed, a human biobank located in San Diego, will provide clinical samples and information.


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