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TGen, IBM, Roche, Elixir Pharma, Paradigm, Illumina, Gene Logic

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TGen Inks Infrastructure, Informatics Deal With IBM

Arizona State University, the Translational Genomics Research Institute, and the International Genomics Consortium have signed a collaborative technology deal with IBM, TGen said last week.

The partners, with the exception of IBM are all based in Phoenix, intend to “explore” computational analysis of gene expression and focus on diseases like cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.

Terms of the agreement call for IBM to provide supercomputing infrastructure to Phoenix-based TGen. The infrastructure will include a 512-node cluster of IBM eServer xSeries 1350 servers that run the Linux operating system, and six IBM eServer pSeries servers for Unix operating systems. The infrastructure will be housed at neighboring ASU. IBM will also provide its TotalStorage FAStT700 disk storage system, the IBM TotalStorage Ultrascalable Linear Tape-Open Tape Library, and the Tivoli Storage Manager.


Roche Dx Readies SARS PCR Test for July Launch

Roche Diagnostics will launch a diagnostic test for the coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome by the end of July, according to a company spokesman.

The test, to be developed by mid-June and marketed by the end of July, will be based on Roche Diagnostics’ real-time PCR technology and will run on the firm’s LightCycler PCR system.

According to a report by Reuters, where this news originated, Roche has already begun collecting SARS samples from hundreds of infected people across Asia. Roche plans to “work closely” with the CDC and the FDA to ensure the accuracy of its diagnostic, the spokesman said.


Elixir Pharma, NHGRI Join in Aging Studies

Elixir Pharmaceuticals will team up with the National Human Genome Research Institute and the University of Michigan to study links between the Lamin A gene and the aging process, Elixir said last week.

The development follows last week’s announcement by the NHGRI that an association had been discovered between the LMNA gene and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, a disorder that causes the most dramatic form of premature aging.

In the new study, NHGRI and University of Michigan researchers will look for associations between the SNPs and longevity by comparing NHGRI’s SNPs in or around the LMNA gene with DNA samples from Elixir’s collection of centenarian genomes.


Paradigm Gets Additional $8.4M in NIEHS Funding for Toxicogenomics

Paradigm Genetics will pocket $8.4 million from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for toxicogenomics studies.

Of this additional funding, $2 million will go toward research for the National Toxicology Program, an interagency program that involves the NIEHS, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research.

The money follows on $23.8 million the company already received under a five-year toxicogenomics contract. That contract calls for Paradigm to use a gene-expression platform based on technology developed at Agilent Technologies to discern what happens to an organism when exposed to an undisclosed variety of toxicants, drugs, and pesticides.


Illumina reports Q1 R&D Falls as Revenues Surge

Illumina last week reported $4.3 million in first-quarter 2003 revenue, up from $1.3 million for the same time last year.

R&D expenses for the period ended March 31 fell to $5.7 million from $7.1 million year over year. However, net losses inched higher to $9.0 million, or $.28 per share, from $8.7 million, or $.28 per share, reported for the first quarter last year. Illumina had around $60.4 million in cash and investments as of March 31.


Gene Logic Reports Increase in Q1 Revenues, Decrease in Net Losses

Gene Logic last week said that greater sales of its GeneExpress products and services caused first-quarter revenue to grow to $12.7 million from $11.8 million for the same period one year ago.

R&D expenses for the period ended March 31 fell to $597,000 from $779,000 year over year. Net loss fell to $5.8 million, or $0.21 per share, from $7.5 million, or $0.28 per share, for the same period last year. Gene Logic said it had approximately $157.3 million in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities as of March 31.

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The Scan

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Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.