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Sydney Brenner, GE, Eli Lilly, Nanogen, DeCode, Transgenomic, Geron, Icoria


Sydney Brenner Co-founds Company to Develop New Sequencing Platform

Sydney Brenner has devised a new way to obtain sequence information from thousands of genomes simultaneously, and has co-founded a new company to help develop the platform, according to the Wellcome Trust.

The Wellcome Trust has given the company, called Population Genetics Technologies, a £1.1 million ($2.1 million) Programme Related Investment grant to help it start developing the technology. The money will appear as soon as the company receives "additional" venture capital funding, the Wellcome Trust added.

It was not immediately clear how much private-equity financing the company has so far received, or from whom.

The intellectual property and related patent applications underlying the technology were licensed from Compass Genetics, a partnership formed several years ago by Brenner; Sam Eletr, a current director at Third Wave Technologies and former director at Solexa and Lynx Therapeutics; and Philip Goelet, director of Red Abbey Venture Partners, a UK-based private-equity firm. Additional information about the platform was not disclosed.

Population Genetics Technologies will be located in Cambridge, UK. Eletr will be acting-CEO until the role is permanently filled. Brenner and Eletr will sit on the board, which will be chaired by Mark Treherne, chairman of Neurosolutions, a UK-based biotech company.

GE and Lilly Partner on Alzheimer's Diagnostics, Therapeutics

General Electric, through its Global Research and GE Healthcare units, has inked a research collaboration with Eli Lilly for the discovery of diagnostics and therapeutics for Alzheimer's disease, the companies said this week.

According to the companies, the research collaboration will target beta-amyloid protein.

GE Healthcare will have access to Lilly's molecular libraries to search for compounds that might be used in targeted diagnostic imaging agents for Alzheimer's.

Lilly will subsequently have access to any diagnostic agents developed by GE to use in the discovery of Alzheimer's therapeutics, the companies said.

Nanogen, DeCode Ink Deal for SNP Analysis Assay

Nanogen said this week that it will provide DeCode Genetics with a new genomics assay for single nucleotide polymorphism discovery, validation, and screening.

According to Nanogen, the assay will incorporate a range of its technologies, including the Eclipse Dark Quencher, new DNA linker technology, modified bases, and novel fluorescent dyes. The assay is expected to allow DeCode to conduct SNP analysis on a large number of patient samples.

Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Transgenomic Extends Supply Agreement with Geron for Nucleic Acid Building Blocks

Transgenomic will supply Geron with additional modified nucleic acid reagents to synthesize an anti-cancer drug, the Omaha, Neb.-based company said this week.

The additional shipments, which add to an existing supply agreement between the two companies, will be completed later this year.

Geron's cancer drug is a thio-phosporamidate oligonucleotide, for which Transgenomic provides the building blocks.

Icoria to Identify Hepatocyte Biomarkers for ADMET Techologies

Icoria said this week that it will use its metabolomics and gene-expression technology to characterize ADMET Technologies' human adult hepatocytes for predictive toxicology screening.

Under the agreement, ADMET will provide Icoria with liver cells from patients with a diversity of medical conditions. Icoria will then use its metabolomics, gene expression, and pathway analysis technologies to develop biological profiles and correlate these with differing sensitivities to various classes of hepatotoxic drugs, the companies said.

Icoria will retain the rights to commercial development of any novel diagnostic biomarkers discovered during the research. Further financial details were not disclosed.

In March, Icoria announced it was selling its agricultural genomics assets to Monsanto, and would reposition itself to focus on biomarker discovery for diabetes, obesity, and liver injury using its metabolomics, gene-expression profiling, tissue analysis software, and computational assets.

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The Scan

Two J&J Doses

Johnson & Johnson says two doses of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine provides increased protection against symptomatic COVID-19, CNN reports.

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Response in Kids

The Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in a lower-dose format appears to generate an immune response among children, according to the Washington Post.

Chicken Changes to Prevent Disease

The Guardian writes that researchers are looking at gene editing chickens to help prevent future pandemics.

PNAS Papers on Siberian Dog Ancestry, Insect Reproduction, Hippocampal Neurogenesis

In PNAS this week: ancestry and admixture among Siberian dogs, hormone role in fruit fly reproduction, and more.