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Tripos, Pharsight, Wageningen University and Research Centre, DNAStar, Whitehead Institute, Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry Facility-University of Massachusetts Medical School, Harvard Medical School, SGI, University of South Carolina

Tripos to Acquire Pharsight for $57M
Tripos said this week that it will acquire clinical software and regulatory services firm Pharsight for approximately $57 million in cash.
Tripos, owned by private equity firm Vector Capital, will pay $5.50 for each outstanding share of common stock of publicly traded Pharsight. The price represents a 29 percent premium over the average closing price of Pharsight’s stock for the 30-day trading period ended Sept. 8, the day before the acquisition was announced.
Pharsight Chairman and CEO Shawn O’Connor said the merger would enable the firm to expand its offerings and market reach. “The combined companies will provide software products and scientific services over an expanded market, from discovery to Phase III, approval, and post marketing,” O’Connor said in a statement.
Pharsight’s board of directors has approved the transaction, which must also be approved by the Mountain View, Calif.-based firm’s shareholders. The firms expect to close the deal in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Netherlands University Takes Site License to DNAStar’s Lasergene
Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands has licensed DNAStar’s Lasergene sequence analysis software, DNAStar said this week.
Under the site license agreement, Wageningen scientists at the Department of Plant Science and at Plant Research International — both part of the university — will use the software in their sequence-analysis projects, the company said.
Madison, Wis.-based DNAStar said Lasergene is used for assembly, visualization, and analysis of data generated through Sanger sequencing and second-generation sequencing platforms from Roche/454 and Illumina.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Three Massachusetts Hospitals To Evaluate Protein Forest's Proteomics Software
Three Massachusetts research hospitals will evaluate Protein Forest’s bioinformatics software in separate disease studies, the company said last week.
The Whitehead Institute, the Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry Facility at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Harvard Medical School will use the company’s Mass Spec Results Analysis Tool, or MSRAT, to study data generated using the company’s digital ProteomeChip system.
The studies will involve seeking biomarkers for glial tumors, identifying prostate cancer markers in urine, and studying diseases linked to MHC class I and class II peptides from T cells, the Lexington, Mass.-based company said.
MSRAT is used to correlate protein expression and post-translational modifications with diseases in mass spectrometry-based proteomics studies. It uses visualization tools such as histograms, Venn diagrams, differential heat maps, and virtual 2D gel maps to assist in interpreting MS data.
Financial terms of the agreements were not released.

USC Uses NSF Grant to Buy SGI System
SGI said this week that the University of South Carolina has deployed an SGI Altix 4700 server and an SGI InfiniteStorage 4000 data storage system in its medical research and computational biology programs.
USC plans to use the system — the largest shared-memory system in the state — for five bioinformatics research programs, and plans to share the system’s capacity with other institutions in the state, SGI said.
The university used a $461,065 National Science Foundation grant to acquire the system, which it purchased through the higher education distributor James River Technical.
The five programs for which USC plans to use the system include defining microbial genome signatures, which measure the evolutionary relationship between species; phylogenetic reconstruction and multiple sequence alignment; protein backbone structure determination using residual dipolar couplings data for identifying structurally novel proteins; solving 2D and 3D computer visualization problems; and dissecting gene regulatory networks for large-scale microarray data analysis.

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The Scan

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.

Sequencing Study Leads to Vaccine Target in Bacteria Behind Neonatal Meningitis

Researchers eBioMedicine track down potential vaccine targets with transposon sequencing on mutant bacteria causing neonatal meningitis in mouse models of the disease.

Multiple Myeloma Progression Influenced by Immune Microenvironment Expression

Researchers in NPJ Genomic Medicine compare RNA sequencing profiles of 102,207 individual cells in bone marrow samples from 18 individuals with rapid or non-progressing multiple myeloma.

Self-Reported Hearing Loss in Older Adults Begins Very Early in Life, Study Says

A JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery study says polygenic risk scores associated with hearing loss in older adults is also associated with hearing decline in younger groups.