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Gates Foundation, Lion, Silicon Genetics, Tripos, Translational Genomics Research Institute


Gates Foundation Awards UW $70M for Genome Research

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the University of Washington with a $70 million gift for genomics research last week.

The bulk of the award - $60 million - is earmarked for the construction of new research space for the UW School of Medicine and its Department of Genome Sciences. The remainder will be applied to collaborative global health programs at UW related to genome sciences, the university said.


Lion Expands Schering Deal, Signs Two Customers in Italy

Lion Bioscience said last week that it has signed a six-year global licensing deal with Schering for its Lion DiscoveryCenter integration platform. The agreement extends a collaboration that began in 2001 between Schering and NetGenics to create a corporate gene database. Lion acquired NetGenics last year. Under the expanded agreement with Lion, Schering plans to build an enterprise-wide target validation platform.

In addition, “The order volume, including maintenance and service, substantially exceeds that of comparable integration platform license deals for Lion,” according to Daniel Keesman, Lion’s chief business officer. “The contract length of six years is also significantly longer than our previous platform deals,” Keesman said.

Lion also announced two license agreements for its SRS integration platform last week - Chiron Vaccines and Axxam. Both companies are based in Italy. Chiron upgraded an existing basic license to “perpetual” status, while Axxam plans to standardize its company-wide bioinformatics platform on SRS. “Several bioinformatics client and product support utilities and internal databases, to be developed in the near future, will be designed on the basis of the data access methods provided by SRS,” said Gyorgy Simon, Axxam’s head of bioinformatics.

Chiron also purchased a license to Lion’s microarray analysis platform, Expression Profiling Solution.


Silicon Genetics Sells GeNet System to HGMP-RC

Silicon Genetics said last week that the UK’s Human Genome Mapping Project Resource Center (HGMP-RC) would deploy its GeNet system across 500 labs.

The center was previously storing its array data on CDs, according to Tom Freeman, leader of the HGMP-RC microarray group. “GeNet means that we no longer have to mail a CD to a lab every time we run the array scanner - we can simply publish the results in a database that can be accessed from any desktop browser.”

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


TRIPOS Q1 Revenues up, Software Sales Down

Tripos posted a four percent overall increase in revenues for the first quarter ended March 31, 2003, last week, but a sharp decrease in software sales.

The company reported revenues of $13.2 million for the first quarter, compared to the previous year’s first-quarter revenues of $12.7 million. However, an increase in revenues from the company’s discovery research activities - $6.1 million compared to $2.5 million in the year-ago period - was sharply offset by a dip in revenue from software sales, support, and consulting services.

Discovery software revenues were $3.4 million in Q1 ‘03 compared to $6.4 million in the year-ago period, while support revenues were $2.2 million compared to $2.0 million year-over-year, and software consulting services revenues were flat at $1.5 million compared to $1.6 million in Q1 ‘02.

The company posted net income of $184,000 compared to $1.6 million in the first quarter of 2002.

As of March 31, 2003, Tripos had $10.1 million in cash, cash equivalents and investments.


TGEN Signs Infrastructure, Informatics Partnership with IBM

The Translational Genomics Research Institute (Tgen) in Phoenix, along with Arizona State University and the International Genomics Consortium have signed on to a collaborative technology deal with IBM, Tgen said.

Under the agreement, IBM will provide supercomputing infrastructure to Tgen, which will be housed at ASU. The partners will “explore” joint research including computational analysis of gene expression under various conditions, according to Tgen.

The infrastructure will include a 512-node cluster of IBM eServer xSeries 1350 servers that run the Linux operating system, as well as six IBM eServer pSeries servers for UNIX operating systems. IBM will also provide its TotalStorage FAStT700 disk storage system, which enables access and retrieval of massive volumes of information, as well as the IBM TotalStorage Ultrascalable Linear Tape-Open Tape Library, for centralized data backup, and the Tivoli Storage Manager.

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