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ABRF Edman, Olympus, Evotec, BD Biosciences, Luminex, Proteomics, Magellan Biotech


ABRF Edman Sequencing Study

The Association of Biomedical Research Facilities Edman Sequence Research Group is soliciting volunteers to participate in its 2003 Edman sequencing competition. The study requires participants to analyze by Edman sequencing a protein sample electroblotted on to a PVDF membrane, and return a report that a typical core facility user would receive with their analysis. A survey of instrument methods and procedures is included in the survey materials.

ABRF began shipping out samples last week, and the deadline for requesting to participate is October 4. No more data submissions will be accepted after November 1. ABRF will present the results of the study at its annual meeting in February in Denver, Colo. For more information and to participate, contact Myron Crawford at [email protected]


Olympus and Evotec Develop fluorescence Spectroscopy System

Evotec Technologies of Hamburg, Germany, and Olympus Optical of Tokyo have completed the development of the MF20 molecular interaction system, a single molecular fluorescence spectroscopy apparatus for probing protein and DNA interactions. The instrument combines confocal laser microscopy with a high-sensitivity fluorescence detection device to detect interactions in volumes as small as 1 femtoliter, in times ranging from a few seconds to less than a minute. Olympus has begun taking orders for the system in Japan, and will make the product available overseas “in due course,” the company said.


BD Biosciences Teams with CANVAC

BD Biosciences and the Canadian Network for Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics said last week that they have joined forces to develop antibodies and immune function assays. CANVAC, a network of 72 Canadian scientists and their affiliated institutions, will give BD Biosciences exclusive access to its collection of full-length gene clones and proteins. BD Biosciences will use the clones for antibody development, the company said. Access to CANVAC’s database will be handled by two of its member institutions: the University Health Network based in Toronto and Université de Montréal.


Luminex: RBM Is a Go

Luminex said last week that it has completed the spin out of its Rules-Based Medicine project into a newly created company. The deal, announced last month, frees the Austin, Texas-based company to concentrate on selling its instruments and bead technology.

Luminex President and CEO Mark Chandler has left the company to head the spinoff. Thomas Erickson, a professional interim president, will run Luminex while the company searches for a permanent replacement, the company said. By selling its RBM project Luminex received a $4.4 million equity stake and a 10 percent common-stock interest in the new company. Luminex also said it will pocket undisclosed royalties for any products the new firm commercializes using Luminex’s xMap technology, on which RBM is based. Luminex will also count as revenue whatever microspheres and instruments it sells to the new company.

RBM, created last winter, aims to develop an array of markers by using the xMap technology to map and measure proteins associated with various diseases. These markers can then be used to determine an individual’s risk of those diseases. Luminex does not know how much a fully spun-off RBM company would cost to get off the ground, or even where that money would come from, Currie said. The board is currently trying to figure that out, he added.

Also not known is how many staff Chandler plans to take with him from Luminex, and whether he will be hiring additional personnel any time soon. Currie had said the unit as it stands today is “adequately staffed.”


Proteomics Journal Seeking Scholarly Submissions

The academic journal Proteomics is soliciting paper submissions for its May 2003 issue, to be guest edited by Wayne Patton of Molecular Probes. This special issue of the journal will focus on “multiplexed technologies in proteomic analysis,” loosely defined as methods related to proteomics in which two or more characteristics of proteins are assayed. These could range from multicolor fluorescence on gels or blots to multiplexed tandem FTICR mass spectrometry coupled with capillary liquid chromatography. All papers should be submitted to the editor by December 31, 2002. Contact Wayne Patton at [email protected] for more details.


Magellan Biotech Acquires Miraculins

Magellan Biotech has acquired all issued and outstanding securities of Miraculins, a Winnipeg, Manitoba-based company employing proteomics to identify biomarkers for disease. Magellan acquired all shares at a price of $1.34 million, according to a filing with the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.