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University of Manchester, UK Biobank, Biomedical Diagnostics, Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, Lynx, DeCode Genetics

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University of Manchester to Host UK Biobank Coordinating Center

The funders of the UK Biobank — the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and Department of Health — have chosen the University of Manchester to host the Co-ordinating Center for the UK Biobank project.

The new Mancunian headquarters will oversee data management and quality assurance, computing, and financial management. It will also coordinate the activities of six scientific collaborating centers — the Scottish Consortium, the Fosse Way Consortium, the North West & Wessex Consortium, the Welsh Consortium, the Central England Consortium, and the London Consortium — that will contribute to the design of the project and be responsible for recruiting participants and collecting initial data and samples, the UK Biobank said last week.


BMD Wins €9.3M in Private Equity Financing Round

Biomedical Diagnostics has raised €9.3 million, or $10.9 million, in a new round of financing. Lead investors were Truffle Venture, Europe Innovation, and Siparex Ventures, followed by AGF Private Equity, 123 Multinova, and original investors CDC IXIS Innovation, Auriga Partners, Sudinnova, and Natexis Ventech. BMD raised €4.6 million in its first round of financing in 2000.

BMD said it will use the cash to develop its FIDIS technology for high-throughput autoimmune diagnostics. The platform combines BMD’s immunoanalysis technology with robotics licensed from Luminex, BMD reported.


Genaissance Expands License with Prometheus, Starts Collaboration

Genaissance Pharmaceuticals and Prometheus Laboratories have expanded a licensing agreement and plan to collaborate to identify genetic markers, the companies said last week.

Prometheus, which licenses a thiopurine S-methyltransferase (TPMT) genetic test from Genaissance, will now be able to use it more broadly. The test assesses a patient’s ability to metabolize thiopurine drugs, which are commonly used to treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Genaissance acquired the rights to this test through its purchase of the assets of DNA Sciences.

Prometheus paid Genaissance an upfront fee for the license expansion and will make further payments based on net sales.

In addition, Genaissance and Prometheus plan to collaborate to identify genetic markers that predict patient responses to therapies used to treat gastrointestinal tract diseases as well as autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Prometheus focuses on these disease areas, the company said.


Lynx to Analyze Gene Expression in Parasites, Vectors in Kenya, Scotland …

Lynx Therapeutics will provide gene expression services for the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, Kenya, and the Center for Tropical Veterinary Medicine in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Lynx last week said it will use its Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing (MPSS) technology to analyze gene expression in livestock parasites and their vectors. Initially, it will study Theileria parva, a parasite that causes east coast fever in cattle. It will also analyze gene expression in different tissues from tsetse flies.


… And Work With Millennium to Use MPSS for Gene-Expression Research

Lynx Therapeutics will use its Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing technology to help Millennium Pharmaceuticals study gene expression in certain blood cell populations.

Terms of the agreement call for Lynx to apply the MPSS technology in two separate studies: First the MPSS platform will be used to identify cell-specific gene markers for an undisclosed blood cell type.

In the second study, Lynx will use the platform to evaluate gene-expression patterns from RNA in peripheral blood monocytes following treatments with certain undisclosed compounds.


DeCode Posts Q1 Revenue Increase, Narrowed Losses

DeCode Genetics reported first-quarter revenues increased to $11.8 million from $5.3 million for the same period last year.

R&D expenses for the period ended March 31 increased to $19.8 million from $18.8 million for the year-ago period. DeCode said the increase partly reflected the acquisition of its pharmaceuticals and biostructures groups.

First-quarter net losses fell to $13.0 million, or $.25 per share, from $15.9 million, or $.37 per share, year over year, DeCode said.

DeCode had $79.2 million in cash and cash equivalents as of March 31.

Filed under

The Scan

Booster Push

New data shows a decline in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine efficacy over time, which the New York Times says Pfizer is using to argue its case for a booster, even as the lower efficacy remains high.

With Help from Mr. Fluffington, PurrhD

Cats could make good study animals for genetic research, the University of Missouri's Leslie Lyons tells the Atlantic.

Man Charged With Threatening to Harm Fauci, Collins

The Hill reports that Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr., was charged with making threats against federal officials.

Nature Papers Present Approach to Find Natural Products, Method to ID Cancer Driver Mutations, More

In Nature this week: combination of cryogenic electron microscopy with genome mining helps uncover natural products, driver mutations in cancer, and more.