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APBioNet and ISCB, NSF, NIH, DoubleTwist

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APBioNet Signs Affiliation Agreement with ISCB

The Asia Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNet) said last week that it had signed an agreement of affiliation with the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB).

As affiliated associations, the two groups hope to extend their reach in promoting bioinformatics in the Asia Pacific region, specifically, the development of the bioinformatics network infrastructure, the exchange of data and information, the development of training programs, workshops and symposia.

APBioNet has more than 400 members around the Pacific Rim, while ISCB has more than 1,300 members in 42 countries.

 

NSF and NIH Launch Mathematical Biology Initiative

The Division of Mathematical Sciences in the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the NSF and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the NIH have earmarked $18 million to be awarded over the next three years to support research in mathematics and statistics related to mathematical biology research.

The program, creatively labeled the Joint DMS/NIGMS Initiative to Support Research in the Area of Mathematical Biology, plans to make between 20-25 awards of between $100,000 and $400,000 during each fiscal year 2003-2005. Award durations are expected to be four to five years.

Examples of research that will be considered for awards include: evolutionary theory and practice arising from genomics advances; statistical and other approaches to the discovery of genes contributing to complex behavior; explanatory and predictive models of the cellular state; metabolic circuitry and dynamics; informational molecular dynamics; new approaches to the prediction of molecular structure; and improved algorithms for structure determination by x-ray crystallography, NMR, and electron microscopy.

Proposal due dates are August 11, 2002, June 30, 2003, and June 30, 2004. Further information is available at: www.nsf.gov/pubs/2001/nsf01128/nsf01128.htm.

 

DoubleTwist Auctions Dot-Com Trappings; Is Merck Among the Buyers?

An auction at now-defunct DoubleTwist’s Oakland, Calif., offices last week attracted hundreds of bidders for approximately 2,000 items once owned by the company.

Separately, a course close to the negotiations told BioInform’s sister publication GenomeWeb.com that Merck had acquired a non-exclusive license to DoubleTwist’s software, which is being parceled out separately from the office supplies and laptops that went to the highest bidder last week.

Martin Pichinson, co-president of Los Angeles-based liquidation company Sherwood Partners, confirmed that two companies, one of them a large pharmaceutical firm, are interested in DoubleTwist’s IP assets, but would not disclose the companies’ identities.

A Merck spokesperson did not return calls seeking comment.

According to Greg Quiroga, director of sales for AuctioNet, which oversaw the auction of DoubleTwist’s office supplies, Dell laptops, Sun Enterprise servers, a ping-pong table, Paracel GeneMatcher systems, DJ lighting equipment, and a leopard-print executive chair were among the items on the block last week. Quiroga would not say who the winning bidders were, although roughly 15 former DoubleTwist staffers, as well as some Applied Biosystems and Celera employees were reported to be among the bargain hunters.

AuctioNet would not disclose how much cash the auction raised.

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