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Entelos, Wash U Genomics Center, NIMH Center for Genomic Studies on Mental Disorders, GeneGo, Gene Logic, Ocimum, NIAID and Systems Biology

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Pfizer Subsidiary Purchases $1.5M Worth of Entelos Shares
 
Entelos said this week that Pfizer Ireland Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of the pharma giant, has agreed to purchase 2,516,299 Entelos common shares at 29.1 pence per share for a total investment of £732,243 ($1.5 million).
 
Entelos trades on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market.
 
Pfizer Ireland was an existing shareholder of Entelos. Following the share purchase, it will hold 6.9 percent of the company’s share capital.
 
Entelos said it will use the funds for “building and acquiring complementary predictive technologies to generate revenue from services and technology licensing.”
 

 
Wash U Genomics Center to Spend $10M to Upgrade Data Center for Next-Gen Sequencing
 
The Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University plans to spend more than $10 million to expand its informatics center to help it handle and store data from next-generation sequencing projects, a spokeswoman for the university told BioInform’s sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News this week.
 
The 16,000 square-foot center will be located at the university’s School of Medicine. According to a local news report, the center will house 120 racks of storage and computing equipment to help it support its sequencers.
 
Richard Wilson, director of the Genome Sequencing Center’s Director, said in a statement that the new data center will “provide the ‘extra space’ and more efficient data processing required by advanced sequencing technologies, and it will meet our computing needs for the next several years."
 

 
NIMH Pledges $7M to Create Center for Genomics of Mental Disorders
 
The National Institute of Mental Health plans to start a Center for Genomic Studies on Mental Disorders and is currently taking applications for the program. NIMH will fund the center with $7 million in fiscal 2008, and applicants may request funding for up to five years.
 
The center will have several areas of focus, but it will have a strong emphasis on bioinformatics, NIMH said in its request for applications for the center.
 
The center will aim to advance a long-term program NIMH started in the late 1980s, the Human Genetics Initiative, which focused on characterizing genetic vulnerabilities to schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and bipolar disorder.
 
NIMH said the center requires expertise in molecular biology, “with a primary focus on the Epstein-Barr virus transformation of lymphocytes from fresh blood samples received from national and international sites to create contaminant-free cell lines,” as well as extraction of DNA from these cell lines.
 
The center’s bioinformatics research will be on the establishment of documented web-based data files that can be used for genetic analysis of mental disorders.
 
The center will study statistical genetics of complex diseases as well. This research will be aimed at developing algorithms and software for meta-analytic genetic studies and clustering and classification techniques. The research also will seek to develop novel statistical approaches that would allow results from multiple genomic scans to be analyzed jointly to fine map disease susceptibility loci.
 
The center’s computer and information sciences research will focus on data mining and knowledge discovery from genomic data on mental disorders by focusing on a cyberinfrastructure made of federal data repositories, computational resources, visualization environment, and a research network.
 
NIMH expects to award the grant in September 2008.
 

 
Elan Licenses GeneGo's Data Suite
 
Elan Pharmaceuticals has licensed GeneGo’s MetaCore software suite, GeneGo said this week. Elan plans to use the software and data suite in its neurology and autoimmune programs.
 
“MetaCore has substantial knowledge content coverage in the areas of CNS and autoimmune diseases, which the Elan scientists can leverage in their innovative research,” said Julie Bryant, GeneGo's vice president of business development, in a statement.
 
Financial terms of the deal were not released.
 

 
Gene Logic Changes Name Following Ocimum Deal
 
Gene Logic said this week it plans to change its name to Ore Pharmaceuticals in order to better express its drug-repositioning identity now that it has agreed to sell its genomics business to Ocimum Biosolutions.
 
The company said two weeks ago it plans to sell its genomics assets to Ocimum for $10 million as it completes its restructuring into the pharmaceuticals field [BioInform 10-19-07]. 
 
Gene Logic said its board of directors has approved the name change, which now awaits shareholder approval. The company also is waiting for the shareholders' nod to proceed with the proposed sale to Ocimum, which will attain the Gene Logic brand when the deal closes.
 
“We believe that the Gene Logic name is a valuable brand that appropriately should remain with the genomics business of Ocimum Biosolutions," Gene Logic CEO Charles Dimmler said in a statement.
 

 
NIAID Sets Aside $51M to Help Four Centers Study Systems Bio of Immunity
 
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease will spread $51 million among four research institutes to help them use genomics, bioinformatics, systems biology, and other approaches to study the human immune system, NIAID said last week.
 
The goal of the five-year project is to develop a comprehensive model of immune response that can be used to develop treatments and vaccines to combat disease. It will be run by the Scripps Research Institute, Stanford University, the Institute for Systems Biology, and the Australian National University in Canberra.
 
Richard Ulevitch, a Scripps Research professor and chairman of the Department of Immunology, will lead the project as principal investigator, according to the NIAID.
 
Ulevitch said the project will take a systems-biology approach to build a model of the immune system’s response to disease-causing agents. He said he and his collaborators will screen mutant mice for defects in their immune reactions to viruses, including influenza, mouse-pox, and mouse cytomegalovirus, and to bacteria, including Salmonella and Listeria.
 
After the screening process, the researchers will conduct systems-level analysis of multiple immune system signaling pathways.
 
The consortium plans to develop a web-based data portal to enable the scientific community to access the findings “without specialized training in informatics or computational analysis.”
 
Beside Ulevitch, the consortium includes: Alan Aderem, co-founder and director of the Institute for Systems Biology; Bruce Beutler, chair of the Department of Genetics at Scripps Research; Christopher Goodnow, director of the Australian Phenomics and Immunogenomics Laboratories at the Australian National University; Garry Nolan, director of the Stanford National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Proteomics Center; Ilya Shmulevich, director of Computational Biology at the Institute for Systems Biology; and Luc Teyton, professor in the Department of Immunology at Scripps Research.

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The Scan

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Arizona Bill Before Judge

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Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.