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National Centers for Biomedical Computing, Icoria, RxGen, Ariadne Genomics, BioSolveIT, Molecular Networks, Strand Genomics


NIH Pledges $12M in FY ‘05 for Three NCBCs

Just a week after announcing it had awarded nearly $80 million to create four National Centers for Biomedical Computing [BioInform 10-04-04], the National Institutes of Health issued a new request for applications for three more NCBCs.

The RFA, administered by the National Institute for General Medical Sciences and available at, said that $12 million to 14 million will be available in FY 2005 to fund the new centers.

Eligible organizations include US-based public or private institutions, units of state and local governments, and eligible agencies of the federal government. For-profit organizations are not eligible to apply, “but partnerships are welcome,” the RFA states.

NIH is hosting a technical assistance workshop to discuss the RFA on Oct. 28. Letters of intent are due on Dec. 20, and applications are due Jan. 24, 2005.

Icoria Replaces Lion with Agilent as New Partner in $11.7M ATP Grant

Icoria (formerly Paradigm Genetics) said last week that it will work with Agilent Technologies on an $11.7 million project funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Advanced Technology Program to develop a bioinformatics platform called the Target Assessment Technologies Suite.

The grant was originally awarded in June of 2002 to Icoria and its initial partner, Lion Bioscience, “but Lion has since withdrawn from participation and has now been replaced by Agilent,” Icoria said in a statement.

Agilent will contribute its Synapsia Informatics Workbench to the project.

Icoria said it has successfully completed the first technical milestone associated with the grant, which was for the development, validation, and analysis of a coherent data set, the first of three to be developed under the grant. The data set is based on Icoria’s investigation of liver injury in rats induced by acetaminophen.

Imran Shah, head of Icoria’s computational systems biology group, will be the principal investigator for the project.

RxGen Wins $1.4M SBIR for Predictive Tox DB

RxGen, a private biotechnology company based in New Haven, Conn., said last week that it has been awarded a $1.4 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop PrimaTox, a database to support predictive toxicology.

PrimaTox contains gene expression signatures of known hepatotoxins, and is expected to serve as a reference database to allow rapid assessment of novel compounds for potential hepatotoxicity, according to the company. RxGen said it plans to expand PrimaTox to include other organs such as brain, heart, and kidney.

Ariadne Awarded $750K SBIR for MedScan

Ariadne Genomics said last week that it has received a $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health. The two-year grant will be used for development of new software products based on the company’s MedScan natural language processing technology.

Ariadne said it plans to use the new software to extend its product line of pathway analysis and information extraction tools. The new software will be based on the identification of semantic links that describe functional relations among biological entities, the company said, and will be available as a desktop or client-server application.

BioSolveIT, Molecular Networks win €2M Grant

BioSolveIT and Molecular Networks said last week that they have been awarded a €2 million ($2.5 million), three-year grant from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research to develop NovoBench, a software platform for the de novo design of biologically active and synthetically feasible lead compounds.

The companies said they will work closely with the research groups of Matthias Rarey from the Center for Bioinformatics at the University of Hamburg and Johann Gasteiger from the Computer Chemistry Center at the University of Erlangen, Nuremberg, on the project. They will also collaborate with “three internationally operating pharmaceutical companies, which will contribute significantly to the development of the project and provide testing capabilities to ensure that the development will meet the needs of the pharmaceutical industry,” according to a statement from the companies.

Strand Signs Distributor for Taiwan

Strand Genomics said last week that it has tapped Cold Spring Biotech to serve as its distribution partner in Taiwan.

Cold Spring Harobor Biotech will market Strand’s Avadis microarray analysis software.

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