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Mercury Computer, Pfizer, IBM, NorayBio, BioDynamics, BioWisdom, AstraZeneca, BBSRC, GeneBio, SIB, Genedata, Insilico

Mercury Computer, Pfizer Donate Software to Malaria Drug Research Project
Mercury Computer Systems said this week that it is providing no-cost licensing of its amira visualization software to support the Medicines for Malaria Venture, a non-profit organization developing affordable antimalarial drugs.
David Matthews, who recently retired from Pfizer, is providing pro bono services to MMV using computational biochemistry software developed at Pfizer called MoViT, which is based on Mercury’s amira platform. 
Matthews has made arrangements with Pfizer and Mercury to use the software for the project without licensing fees, Mercury said. 
“This software environment is now being effectively applied to better understand structural changes that have occurred in a specific malaria protein, dihydrofolate reductase, in response to a previously used class of antimalarial drugs,” Matthews said in a statement. “The MoVIT software has been an important tool in facilitating the design of new compounds with greatly increased efficacy against these mutated strains of malaria."
Mercury said the MMV effort is “the first of a number of projects” in which it is developing structural drug design and analysis software for pharmaceutical customers.

IBM Tackles Cancer with Third World Community Grid Effort
IBM said this week that it is collaborating with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey to launch “Help Defeat Cancer,” which will use IBM’s World Community Grid to analyze cancer tissue microarrays.
The effort is the third to use the World Community Grid, an international community of 200,000 computer users who have donated cycle time on more then 360,000 PCs by registering at In 2004, IBM kicked off the effort with the Human Proteome Folding Project [BioInform 11-22-2004], and last September, the company announced an agreement with Scripps to use the system for AIDS research [BioInform 11-28-05].
IBM said it will help power the Help Defeat Cancer project “for a minimum of three months.”
The World Community Grid “makes it possible to analyze in one day the number of specimens that would take approximately 130 years to complete using a traditional computer," said David Foran, lead researcher and professor of pathology and director of the Center for Biomedical Imaging at the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
The project will start by analyzing breast cancer TMAs and then move on to head and neck cancers.

NorayBio Licenses Noraymet to BioDynamics
NorayBio said this week that it has licensed its Noramet ADME bioinformatics platform to BioDynamics.
Noraymet ADME predicts human pharmacokinetic models of new compounds from in vitro ADME data.
NorayBio has licensed the product to Spain's Faes Farma and Finland's Novamass.
NorayBio and BioDynamics also plan to co-develop software based on Noraymet ADME to refine human pharmacokinetic modeling.

BioWisdom Extends Intelligent Networks Collaboration with AstraZeneca
BioWisdom said this week that it has extended its relationship with AstraZeneca to build Intelligent Networks.
The companies have been working together for two years. AstraZeneca will also evaluate BioWisdom's Sofia platform.
Financial details were not disclosed.
UK's BBSRC Launches Training Courses for Proteomics-Related Bioinformatics
The UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council has allocated £500,000 ($921,000) to launch a series of courses under the title of "Proteomics and e-Science Training."
The initiative funds four courses: Practical Proteomics, Application of Bioinformatics to Proteomics, Bioinformatics for High Throughput Proteomics, and Proteomics Data Management for Bioscientists.
Further details on the program are available at
GeneBio and SIB Collaborate on Web-Based Proteomics Training Portal
Geneva Bioinformatics and the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics have signed an agreement under which GeneBio's e-Proxemis proteomics portal will become the "centralized educational platform" for SIB's ExPASy server.
The e-Proxemis portal is a web-based bioinformatics resource that offers a number of tutorials and enables users to advance through increasingly demanding scenarios and case studies, GeneBio said.
Genedata and Insilico Will Combine Platforms in Systems Bio Alliance

Genedata will combine its computational systems for genomic data management and analysis with Insilico's pathway-simulation tools as part of a systems-biology collaboration, the companies said this week.
The alliance will focus on the fine chemical, food, feed, and personal care markets. Target applications include the development of high-performance microbial production strains for industrial fermentation.
The companies also said that the collaboration will support research at German specialty chemistry firm Degussa and the Kluyver Center for Genomics and Industrial Fermentation.
Financial details were not disclosed.


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The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.