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Roche, ParAllele BioScience, Perlegen Sciences, AstraZeneca, CombiMatrix, University of Washington, Illumina, Psychiatric Genomics, Cepheid, Tm Bioscience


Roche, ParAllele Partner In Diabetes SNP Discovery

Roche and ParAllele BioScience plan to search genes and mutations related to type 2 diabetes they hope will lead to diagnostics or therapeutics.

Terms of the collaboration call for ParAllele to use its SNP-discovery and SNP-genotyping platforms to uncover useful genes and mutations from clinical samples provided by Roche. The collaboration is the first high-throughput deal of its kind for ParAllele.

Roche, which will pay for the study, intends to evaluate in larger patient populations any associations found during the collaboration.

Perlegen Wins NIH Biodefende Grant To Sequence Salmonella Strains, SNPs

Perlegen Sciences has received an undisclosed biodefense award from the US National Institutes of Health to use its microarray technology to sequence the genomes of several strains of Salmonella.

The company said it would compare the strains to discover “signature SNPs” that could be used to identify the source of Salmonella in an outbreak.

Though more than 2,000 strains of the bacteria are responsible for about 1.5 million cases of food poisoning in the United States each year, Perlegen would not disclose how many strains it plans to sequence.

AstraZeneca Licenses Data from Genaissance’s STRENGTH Study

AstraZeneca has licensed data from Genaissance Pharmaceuticals’ so-called STRENGTH study. Terms of the agreement call for AstraZeneca to receive non-exclusive access to the database, which it will use for “a limited period.”

This STRENGTH study — or Statin Response Examined by Genetic Haplotype Markers — followed more than 400 patients and showed that gene mutations influence a patient’s response to the statin class of antihypercholesterolemia drugs.

The 16-week study prospectively analyzed for an association between an individual’s haplotypes and the effectiveness of three statins — atorvastatin, pravastatin, and simvastatin [see 1-31-2003 SNPtech Reporter] — in reducing LDL- cholesterol.

CombiMatrix, University of Washington to Co-develop Array-Based Dx for Lymphoma

CombiMatrix and the University of Washington plan to co-develop a microarray-based test for diagnosing lymphoma.

A team of university researchers led by Daniel Sabath and Stephen Schmechel, at the Departments of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology in the School of Medicine, have claimed to have identified a subset of genes whose expression pattern can “distinguish the various lymphoma types.” The goal of the collaboration, then, is to harness those data and develop array-based diagnostics that detect lymphomas and predict clinical outcome.

To help develop and commercialize a potential product, CombiMatrix has penned an agreement with RationalDiagnostics. Last year, Seattle-based RationalDiagnostics, which was co-founded by Sabath and Schmechel, signed a deal with the University of Washington and the Washington Technology Center that ultimately helped uncover ways of using microarrays to diagnose lymphoma.

Illumina Installs BeadLab At Whitehead Institute

Illumina has installed one of its BeadLab SNP-genotyping platforms at MIT’s Whitehead Institute. Researchers there will use the system for large-scale SNP genotyping projects, including the HapMap project. Illumina said it first disclosed the installation in July, but withheld the identity of the purchaser.

The company sold four other BeadLabs this year: to the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Genome Quebec, Johns Hopkins University, and the National Center for Biochip Technology in Shanghai, China. The firm said it has completed installing all but the Shanghai platform.

The BeadLab costs between $1.5 million and $2 million and can produce up to 1 million genotypes per day, according to Illumina.

Psychiatric Genomics Closes $6M Funding

Psychiatric Genomics has closed a $6 million round of financing from the Stanley Medical Research Institute, a non-profit research organization.

Psychiatric Genomics, of Gaithersburg, Md., will use the funds to identify gene expression patterns for use in creating compounds to treat psychiatric diseases.

Michael Knable, executive director of SMRI, will join Psychiatric Genomics’ board (he currently sits on the company’s scientific advisory board). SMRI, of Bethesda, Md., has also invested $1 million in Psychiatric Genomics in a Series B round in November 2002.

Cepheid Gets Good Reviews from USPS; Tech to Launch in Early ‘04

Cepheid will begin selling its Biohazard Detection System broadly in early 2004 following positive reviews from the US Postal Service, which has completed a 15-city test of the platform.

The system uses Cepheid’s DNA-detection system to test for anthrax spores the in the air surrounding mail-handling equipment. Cepheid said it designed the platform to alert officials by e-mail.

Cepheid was originally awarded the USPS contract, worth $750,000, as a pilot phase in May 2002. In October, Applied Biosystems said it would be providing the reagents for the system.

Tm Bioscience Sells Mayo Foundation on P450-2D6 Test

The Mayo Foundation will buy Tm Biosciences' Tm Tag-It P450-2D6 drug-metabolism test over the next two years. The Foundation, based in Rochester, Minn., will use the product in the Mayo Medical Laboratories, which provides lab-testing services for Mayo as well as other medical centers and hospitals.

Tm's P450-2D6 test, which identifies the presence or absence of mutations common in patients with atypical drug metabolism, was launched in June. TM said Mayo has begun internally validating tests for the product through an early-access agreement.

The test is based on Tm's universal array platform and operates on the Luminex xMAP system.


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