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23andMe, TMO Renewables, Biowisdom, MDL Isentris, EMBL, BioBase, Affymetrix

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23andMe Completes Series A Financing; Google Holds Minority Stake
 
23andMe, a startup that desribes itself as a “personal genetics” company, has closed a Series A round of financing with investments from Google, Genentech, MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures, and New Enterprise Associates. Terms of the financing were not disclosed.
 
23andMe said in a statement that it is focused on enabling individuals to “access, explore, and better understand their genetic information, making use of recent advances in DNA analysis technologies and proprietary web-based software tools.”
 
The company currently plans to launch at the end of the year and will provide more information at that time.
 
In an SEC document filed May 22, Google disclosed that it invested around $3.9 million in the firm and that it now holds a minority interest in the company as a result of this investment.
 
23andMe’s investors include Anne Wojcicki, who is married to Google founder Sergey Brin. Google noted in its SEC filing that its audit committee reviewed and approved the transaction “as part of Google’s procedures for entering into transactions with related parties.”
 

 
TMO Renewables Licenses ERGO Genomics Platform to Support Biofuel Research
 
TMO Renewables, a producer of ethanol from biomass, has licensed the ERGO bioinformatics software developed and maintained by Integrated Genomics. TMO will use ERGO for gene annotation, metabolic reconstruction, enzyme data-mining, and comparative genomics.
 
ERGO integrates biological data from genomics, biochemistry, gene expression studies, genetics and the scientific literature. The platform combines pattern-based analyses with comparative genomics tools and gene visualization in order to analyze regulation, expression data, phylogeny, chromosomal neighborhoods, and gene fusions.
 
The system includes more than 1,180 genomes at various stages of completion, as well as the largest available collection of networked cellular pathways, the company said.
 

 
Biowisdom Joins MDL Isentris Alliance
 
Elsevier MDL and BioWisdom have formed a strategic alliance to connect the MDL Isentris discovery informatics system with BioWisdom’s Healthcare Intelligence platform. The first development under this agreement will make BioWisdom’s SRS life sciences information platform accessible via Isentris.
 
Biowisdom’s software products include OmniViz, Sofia, and SRS. These tools allow scientists to build, analyze and visualize semantically normalized knowledge bases derived from hundreds of information sources, the company said.
 

 
EMBL-Bank Turns 25
 
The world’s first public database for DNA and RNA sequencing has celebrated its 25th anniversary. On May 22, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory culminated over two decades of work as Europe’s primary nucleotide sequence resource.
 
EMBL-Bank is maintained by the European Bioinformatics Institute, in collaboration with its US and Japanese counterparts GenBank and the DNA Databank of Japan.
 
“The databases are now the primary record for high-throughput science,” EBI’s associate director, Graham Cameron, said in a statement. “We and our partners in Japan and the US are custodians of that record.”
 
EMBL-Bank currently hlods more than 97 million entries corresponding to 170 gigabases of sequence from more than 280,000 organisms.
 

 
Two BioBase Software Platforms Earn Affy GeneChip Compatibility
 
BioBase said this week that two of its software platforms are compatible with Affymetrix’s microarrary platform.
 
The company said its ExPlain Analysis System and its Transfac database have received GeneChip-compatible status.
 
ExPlain is an integrated analysis system used for transcription regulation and pathway analysis. Transfac stores data on transcription factors, binding sites, and regulated genes.

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The Scan

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Two studies find the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to be effective against viral variants, and Moderna reports on booster shots to combat variants.

CRISPR for What Ails You

The Wall Street Journal writes that CRISPR-based therapies could someday be used to treat common conditions like heart attacks.

Nature Papers Review Integration of Single-Cell Assay Data, Present Approach to Detect Rare Variants

In Nature this week: review of ways to integrate data from single-cell assays, and more.