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Sequenom, Illumina, Third Wave Technologies, BML, Gene Logic, Sumitomo, Pfizer, Perlegen, NextGen, Protagen, Affymetrix, Caliper Technologies, NHGRI

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Sequenom’s Massaray Platform Helped USDA Identify BSE-Infected Cow Jan. 1

The US Department of Agriculture chose GeneSeek and Genaissance Pharmaceuticals earlier this year to confirm the identity of the cow infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the United States last month, the company said last week.

GeneSeek, which is based in Lincoln, Neb., said the USDA asked it to analyze DNA from brain tissue of the infected cow, and between Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 the company analyzed the DNA using an “expanded set” of short tandem repeats. It confirmed the results using Sequenom’s MALDI-TOF-based MassArray platform, according to Daniel Pomp, vice president and CSO of GeneSeek.

GeneSeek said in a statement that it tested DNA from the infected cow against DNA from suspected relatives and “many” unrelated controls.

The company also said the USDA has recently approved it to genotype sheep in the United States for the prion protein as part of the agency’s US National Scrapie Eradication Program.

The details of Genaissance’s work was not immediately clear.


Illumina Expects 2003 Revenues To More Than Double Over 2002

Illumina said that 2003 revenues will be around $27.8 million, which is more than double the $10 million the company posted for 2002.

Illumina also said it expects to report roughly $45 million in total cash, including restricted cash, as of Dec. 28. The company said it had around $66.3 million as of Dec. 31, 2002.

Complete fourth-quarter financials will be released Jan. 27, Illumina said.


Third Wave Extends Invader Contract With Japanese Reference Lab BML

Third Wave Technologies has extended its multi-year partnership with BML, a Tokyo-based clinical reference lab, by at least one year, Third Wave said last week.

The companies will continue their collaboration, begun in December 2000, to use Third Wave’s Invader technology to develop and commercialize molecular diagnostic tests for infectious diseases.

The original agreement called for BML to pay Third Wave $3 million up front, and provide $4 million in funding for Invader product development over the next three years.

In exchange, Third Wave retained the right to market and sell any products developed under the agreement outside Japan, and will later acquire rights to develop and market these products inside Japan.


Gene Logic, Sumitomo Renew And Expand Licensing Agreement

Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals has renewed its agreement with Gene Logic to use the gene-expression data in Gene Logic’s BioExpress database, the companies said last week.

The companies signed the original agreement exactly three years ago. The new extension, which includes access to Gene Logic’s ToxScreen and Mechanism of Toxicity systems, also gives Sumitomo limited-seat access to Gene Logic’s newer ASCENTA system.

Financial details of the three-year agreement were not disclosed.


Pfizer and Perlegen to Study Drug Response in Depressive Disorder

Perlegen Sciences and Pfizer will jointly study drug response in patients with Major Depressive Disorder, Perlegen said last week.

Perlegen will use its genotyping technology to search for SNPs associated with drug response in clinical samples. Pfizer will license the technology, and provide research funding and milestone payments.

Last week, the two companies announced a similar collaboration in the area of metabolic syndrome (see 1/9/03 SNPtech Pharmacogenomics Reporter).


NextGen Licenses Gene Library from Protagen to Enhance Protein Chip Product

NextGen Sciences has licensed Protagen’s UNIclone gene library and will combine it with its own protein-expression platform with the goal of producing content for protein chips, the companies said last week.

NextGen said it will use the UNIclone library of more than 11,000 unique human genes to produce large quantities of functional proteins for use with NextGen’s expressionfactory, which automates protein expression on a single platform and in parallel.

According to NextGen, access to gene libraries was previously “the protein production bottleneck” for its protein biochip platform.

Protagen, meanwhile, said it plans to use the expressionfactory as part of its protein research service business, which will allow researchers to purchase the proteins they require from an off-the-shelf list of genes.


Affymetrix and Caliper to Develop Automated Target Preparation Tool

Affymetrix and Caliper Technologies plan to co-develop automated target preparation instruments for Affy’s microarray platforms, the companies said this week.

The first instruments developed under the multi-year agreement are scheduled to come out later this year. Affy will market and distribute the systems, which Caliper will provide under an OEM agreement. Caliper, meantime, will be responsible for installations, training, and repair.

Separately, Caliper Technologies said it will change its name to Caliper Life Sciences, effective Jan. 23.


NHGRI Devotes $2 Million To New ENCODE Grants

The National Human Genome Research Institute this week released a request for applications that will devote $2 million in FY2004 to support the development of new techniques for use in the NHGRI’s Encyclopedia of DNA Elements project, also called ENCODE.

According to the RFA, the emphasis will be on the development of “completely novel techniques for identifying sequence-based functional elements in the genomes of eukaryotic organisms ... rather than on the incremental improvement of existing methods.” Six to 10 grants will be funded in response to the RFA.

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.