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Purdue University, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina, Genomatix, GenUs Biosystems, Merck KGaA, Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, DeCode Genetics, Agencourt Bioscience, Integrated Genomics


Purdue Group Describes Novel Mass-Spec Protein-Chip Technique

Researchers at Purdue University are developing a protein biochip machine.

The technique, called ion soft landing, involves modifying a mass spectrometer to collect proteins after separation by depositing the ions onto various locations on the chip’s surface. The process produces pure protein samples, the researchers said.

“This technique, when fully developed, will allow us to take hundreds of proteins from a cell without damaging them,” Graham Cooks, a professor of analytical chemistry at Purdue, said in a statement. “We can then deposit these proteins in specific locations on a chip, where their functions can be analyzed quickly.”

The researchers described a part of this technique, a mass spec-based separation technique in the Aug. 13 online edition of Science.

UNC, NC State to Launch Biomed Program In Fall; Functional Genomics is One Focus

North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill plan to launch a joint graduate-degree program in biomedical engineering this fall.

The new joint program, approved by the UNC Board of Governors last spring, will begin this month as the fall 2003 semester kicks off on both campuses. The program will offer students MS degrees and PhDs in biomedical engineering, the schools said.

Among research initiatives currently planned for the program are functional genomics; bioelectronics and biosensors; biomaterials and tissue engineering; medical imaging; implants and medical devices; and intracellular engineering.

The program “is aimed at enabling better use of biomedical engineering resources at both universities,” the schools said in a statement. For NC State, for example, the program will provide students greater proximity to biomedical research in UNC’s School of Medicine funded by the US National Institutes of Health.

It was not immediately clear how much the program will cost, or how it will be paid for.

Genomatix Expands Software Deal with NIH

Genomatix said that researchers from the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, and the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute have signed up for unlimited access to its software.

A Genomatix spokesman said “several more” institute orders are pending.

Currently, more than 150 researchers from the US National Institutes of Health are using gratis Genomatix’s on-line services of integrated in silico systems biology tools.

GenUs Biosystems Launches As DNA Microarray Service Lab

GenUs Biosystems has launched as a DNA microarray service laboratory.

The company will conduct gene expression profiling services for clients, including sample preparation, analysis of sample quality, processing of RNA and DNA provided by customers, and data analysis.

GenUs, based in Chicago, was founded by Scott Magnuson, a senior applications consultant for CodeLink at Amersham Biosciences and Motorola Life Sciences. John Callaci, the chief scientific officer and research associate at Loyola Medical center and Michael Falduto, the chief technology officer and a senior scientist with Abbott Laboratories, are the co-founders.

Merck KGaA Acquires Incyte Spin-off ProteoPlex; DNA Chip to Launch Soon

A unit of Germany’s Merck KGaA has acquired closely held ProteoPlex, a St. Louis-based proteomics company.

Terms of the deal call for ProteoPlex to become integrated within the subsidiary, EMD Biosciences. The companies would not divulge the cost of the acquisition to Merck; a Merck spokeswoman said the company will disclose financial details in its next quarterly earnings statement.

ProteoPlex, which was spun out from Incyte Genomics in 2001, manufactures DNA chips and protein chips. Its first product, a 16-well antibody array, will be launched with Merck’s help.

“The technology and competence of ProteoPlex are a perfect fit with our own proteomics R&D programs and will directly translate into new product offerings for our customers in the Life Sciences industry,” Bernd Reckman, vice president and general manager of Merck KGaA’s Life Science Products Division, said in a statement.

ProteoPlex employs eight people and will remain in St. Louis, according to David Smoller, president and CEO.

Genaissance Posts Mild Q2 Revenue Growth, Significant Cut in Net Loss

Genaissance Pharmaceuticals posted a modest increase in second-quarter revenue amid decreased R&D spending and substantially narrowed net losses.

Total revenue for the period ended June 30 inched up to $3.1 million from $1.9 million one year ago.

R&D spending, meantime, dipped to $5 million from $6.6 million. As a result, net loss in the second quarter receded to $3.8 million, or $.17 per share, from $13.5 million, or $.59 per share, in the second quarter last year.

Genaissance said it had around $23.3 million in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities as of June 30.

DeCode Slashes Loss, Sees Slight Gain in Revenues

DeCode Genetics slashed its net loss nearly by half for the second quarter and reported narrow revenue growth.

The company had revenue of $10.5 million for the quarter ended June 30 compared to $9.4 million for the year-ago quarter.

The firm cut its R&D expenditures to $16.7 million for the quarter from $24 million for the second quarter 2002.

Net loss shrank to $10.2 million from $19.7 million for the same period in 2002.

DeCode said it had $77 million in cash and cash equivalents as of June 30.

Agencourt, Integrated Genomics Sign Co-Marketing Agreement

Agencourt Bioscience and Integrated Genomics will co-market their sequencing, bioinformatics, and library construction services.

Terms of the agreement call for Agencourt to provide customers with the library construction and sequencing services, while Integrated Genomics, of Chicago, will provide its genetic-analysis software, bioinformatics services, and genome database.

The agreement “will allow our customers to make better use of the sequence data we generate by identifying previously unknown or mischaracterized genes, assigning functions to genes and integrating genes into pathways,” Brian McKernan, president and CEO at Agencourt, said in a statement.

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