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ABRF, Vermillion, Genstruct, Pfizer, Geneva Bioinformatics, British Columbia Proteomics Network, SynGene, Invitrogen, Plexera

Institutions, Recharges, and Grants Paying Bills, ABRF Survey Finds
A combination of institutional support, user recharges, and program grants was the greatest funding source to members of the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities, according to its 2007 survey.
The survey results were released in a poster presented during ABRF’s recent annual conference in Salt Lake City. According to it, 38 percent of 196 respondents said that their funding came from a mixture of institutional support, recharges, and grants, while almost 28 percent said a combination of institutional support and recharges was their primary source of financial support. A little more than 14 percent said funding came from recharges and grants and almost 13 percent said it came from recharges exclusively. About 5 percent said full institutional support made up all their funding and 2 percent reported another source of funding.
Institutional support was the most cited source for funding of capital equipment, with about 60 percent of 160 responses. In response to a question about the ease with which they can make capital equipment purchases, 49 percent of 158 responses said that they can make such purchases if they are properly justified, while 47 percent said it was difficult. None said it was easy, and 4 percent said it can’t be done “in this lifetime.”
More than half of 200 respondents said their labs have mass spec and LC-MS services, making it the most widely offered service. DNA sequencing and genotying came in second and third, respectively, with more than 30 percent each. And more than 70 percent of 141 respondents said the salaries of their facilities’ directors were institutionally subsidized to some extent.  

1-for-10 Reverse Stock Split of Vermillion Shares Takes Effect March 3
Vermillion’s shareholders approved a 1-for-10 reverse stock split, the company said last week. The split is expected to take effect at the close of business on March 3.
Based on the volume and price of shares of Vermillion’s stock as of Feb. 14, the company will have about 6.4 million shares outstanding of its common stock after the move, Vermillion said in a statement. The company had proposed the maneuver last month in a bid to raise its share price to fend off possible delisting from the Nasdaq exchange [See PM 01/10/08].
In a statement, Gail Page, CEO of Vermillion, formerly called Ciphergen, said, “We believe this stockholder approval and reverse stock split will help attract a greater level of interest among investors and analysts. It comes at an excellent time given the advances being made in the clinical and commercial development of our peripheral arterial disease and ovarian cancer diagnostics programs."

Genstruct, Pfizer Study Drug-Induced Liver Injury Under New Collaboration
Genstruct and Pfizer announced an agreement this week covering current and future collaborations. The first collaboration under the agreement involves a systems biology analysis of underlying mechanisms of drug-induced liver injury.
Genstruct will retain biomarker intellectual property rights under the agreement. Financial terms were not released.
Genstruct identifies molecular mechanisms, networks, and biomarkers for the development of therapeutics.
In a statement, Keith Elliston, president and CEO of Genstruct, said the collaboration is the result of more than 20 previous R&D projects carried out between the two companies, including those covering oncology, vascular injury, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic disease.

GeneBio Installs Phenyx Protein ID System at BCPN
Geneva Bioinformatics will install its Phenyx protein identification platform at the British Columbia Proteomics Network under an agreement announced this week.
The Phenyx platform, developed in collaboration with the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, will be used to facilitate MS/MS database search functionality for all BCPN members, the parties said in a joint statement. It will be installed on the BCPN’s centralized server.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

OMI Using Dymension Software for 2D Gel Analysis
The Open Mind Institute is using Syngene’s Dymension software for analyzing 2D protein gels, Syngene said this week.
Slovenia-based OMI is studying medicinal plants to determine the effects that the anti-addictive alkaloid, ibogaine, have on the brain. Researchers there, along with scientists at the University of Ljubljana, are using Dymension to determine post- ibogaine treatment differences in silver stained rat brain proteins run on 2D gels. The protein profiles are being used to determine which proteins may be up- or down-regulated.

Invitrogen Launches Foundation to Raise Interest in Life Sciences
Invitrogen announced this week the creation of a foundation and an initial grant of $1 million to the foundation to increase participation in and understanding of the life sciences among students, teachers, scientific professionals, and the public.
In a statement, Greg Lucier, chairman and CEO of Invitrogen, said the Invitrogen Foundation will focus on “encouraging more students to embrace a career in the sciences, as well as celebrating the accomplishments of today’s researchers and the improvements their work brings to our lives everyday.”

Plexera Receives ISO Certification
Plexera Biosciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lumera, said this week it has received ISO 9001:2000 certification.
The certification means Plexera follows “industry respected best practices for consistently designing and manufacturing quality products,” the company said in a statement. In it, Tim Londergan, president and COO of Plexera, said the certification “is a critical component of our continuous efforts to develop and commercialize new products based on our KxArray technology,” which combines label-free biosensor technology with microarray-based assay formats to enable analysis of thousands of biomolecular interactions in one experiment.

The Scan

New Study Highlights Role of Genetics in ADHD

Researchers report in Nature Genetics on differences in genetic architecture between ADHD affecting children versus ADHD that persists into adulthood or is diagnosed in adults.

Study Highlights Pitfall of Large Gene Panels in Clinical Genomic Analysis

An analysis in Genetics in Medicine finds that as gene panels get larger, there is an increased chance of uncovering benign candidate variants.

Single-Cell Atlas of Drosophila Embryogenesis

A new paper in Science presents a single-cell atlas of fruit fly embryonic development over time.

Phage Cocktail Holds Promise for IBD

Researchers uncovered a combination phage therapy that targets Klebsiella pneumonia strains among individuals experiencing inflammatory bowel disease flare ups, as they report in Cell.