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Qiagen and National Cancer Institute, Illumina and Burnham Institute, Innovative Biosensors, South Korea, GE Healthcare, and Analytik Jena and Biozym Scientific


Qiagen and NCI to Develop siRNAs for Cancer Research

Qiagen and the National Cancer Institute will co-develop and validate a set of siRNAs for cancer genes for use by NCI researchers, Qiagen said this week.

The validated siRNA set will be made available to the general research community following the characterization project, Qiagen said.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Illumina, Burnham Institute Will Soon Publish BeadChip Study of Embryonic Stem Cells

Researchers from Illumina and the Burnham Institute will publish the results of a joint collaboration that used Illumina's BeadChips to study the fundamental biology of human embryonic stem cells as soon as next month, an Illumina official told Pharmacogenomics Reporter's sister publication BioArray News at the Northwest Gene Expression Conference, in Seattle this week.

Tim McDaniel, staff science manager at the San Diego-based genotyping instrument company, said representatives from the Burnham Institute and Illumina would meet next week to iron out the kinks in their manuscript.

According to McDaniel, the Burnham Institute used Illumina's new whole genome Sentrix BeadChips to explore the "genomic plasticity and capacity for differentiation" of human embryonic stem cells.

"We do have a manuscript in draft form, but we haven't decided which publication to submit to," he said.

McDaniel told audience members at the conference that researchers have been profiling the embryonic stem cells, and have discovered that they express over 18,000 genes.

Researchers have also discovered that many genes characteristic of differentiated cell types are expressed at significant levels. He also said that the arrays classified undifferentiated cells from differentiated stem cell lines, regardless of the origin of the samples.

Illumina launched its whole genome BeadChips last March.

Innovative Biosensors Nets $3.5M in Series A to Develop Pathogen Detectors

Innovative Biosensors has raised $3.5 million of venture capital in a Series A round, the College Park, Md.-based company said last week.

The company, founded in 2003, uses technology licensed from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop sensitive and fast pathogen detectors for food testing and clinical diagnostics.

Harbert Venture Partners led the financing round and was joined by New Markets Growth Fund and the Maryland Venture Fund.

South Koreans Set Aside $100M for Genome Research Project

A total of 100 billion won ($100 million) will be invested over the next five years into a South Korean genome research project that aims to find cures for 10 major diseases, including cancer, the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare said last week.

According to an article in The Korea Times, the Korean National Genome Research Institute and the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention initiated a project in 2000 to establish a SNP database related to Koreans and some 1,000 diseases. Eighty-four billion won have already been spent on the project since 2000.

With the data that has been compiled so far and the additional investment, the Korean government plans to develop remedies tailored to individual patients, Korean health officials said.

GE Healthcare to Provide Diagnostic Tools to Indian Research Hospital

GE Healthcare will provide certain of its diagnostic tools to a large hospital and research center on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, according to a report last week in the India-based Business Standard.

GE "is not investing in cash" in the hospital, called Medicity, Jeffery Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE Worldwide, said in a statement to reporters attending the signing of the agreement, according to the online newswire. "We will provide the world-class technology for high-end diagnostic tools, clinical research and development and eco-friendly solutions."

Immelt said GE does not rule out equity partnership in Medicity, the Standard said.

Pharmacogenomics Reporter's sister publication, GenomeWeb News, could not immediately confirm the account.

In addition to research tools, the "memorandum of understanding" GE signed with Medicity project head Naresh Trehan said GE will provide the project with utility services, such as power generation and distribution and lighting and water treatment, the report said.

Biozym Scientific to Distribute PCR Thermocyclers for Analytik Jena in Germany, Austria

Analytik Jena has signed on Biozym Scientific to distribute its PCR technology in Germany and Austria, the Jena, Germany-based company said last week.

Under the agreement, Biozym, based in Hessisch Oldendorf, Germany, will sell Analytik Jena's SpeedCycler PCR thermocycler.

SpeedCycler, developed by Analytik Jena and the Hans Knoll Institute and launched last year, has been licensed by Applera, according to the company.

Biozym Diagnostik, which belongs to Biozym Scientific, was barred by injunction last year from selling MJ Research's real-time PCR thermocyclers in Germany, following a patent dispute with Applera.

Trehan is the chief cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon at Escorts Heart Institute and Research Center in New Delhi.

Medicity, based in Guragon, is planned to be a 43-acre, 1,800-bed hospital and research center that will cost approximately $250 million. The project is slated for completion in 2007.


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The Scan

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

US Survey Data Suggests Ancestry Testing Leads Way in Awareness, Use of Genetic Testing Awareness

Although roughly three-quarters of surveyed individuals in a Genetics in Medicine study reported awareness of genetic testing, use of such tests was lower and varied with income, ancestry, and disease history.

Coral Genome Leads to Alternative Amino Acid Pathway Found in Other Non-Model Animals

An alternative cysteine biosynthesis pathway unearthed in the Acropora loripes genome subsequently turned up in sequences from non-mammalian, -nematode, or -arthropod animals, researchers report in Science Advances.

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.