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Aria Biosystems, Molecular Connections, UCLA, European Commission, Aclara BioSciences, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, Cornell University

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Biosensor Start-up Raises $5.5M in Series A

Aria Biosystems, a biomolecular sensor startup, announced this week that it has raised $5.5 million in a Series A round of VC funding.

The Menlo Park, Calif. company said it will use the proceeds of this initial round to complete development of a first product and to further development of subsequent products.

Aria’s technology is based on fiber optics and adopted from the telecommunications industry. The disposable sensors are self-calibrating, and can measure concentrations of analytes and binding kinetics in real time, without labeling, according to the company.

Alloy Ventures and Latterell Venture Partners co-led the round, and were joined by Agilent Ventures and Versant Ventures.

In conjunction with the financing, Aria announced that Craig Taylor, general partner of Alloy Ventures, James Woody, a venture partner of Latterell Venture Partners; and Deborah Neff, President and CEO of Predicant Biosciences (see PM 5-28-04), would be joining the company’s board, along with Winnie Wan, the company’s CEO and co-founder.

Other founding executives of Aria include Hong Tan, president and chief technical officer, Dave Hoyt, chief financial officer, and Bob Zuk, vice president of development.


Bangalore Company Licenses Protein Interaction Database to UCLA

Molecular Connections of Bangalore, India announced this week that a lab at the University of California Los Angeles has licensed its protein interaction database.

Molecular Connections licensed its NetPro database to David Eisenberg’s Laboratory of Structural Biology and Molecular Medicine at the UCLA DOE Institute for Genomics and Proteomics.

NetPro contains more than 30,000 manually curated protein-protein interactions from the biomedical literature, according to the company.


EC Announces Third Call for FP6

The European Commission published the third call for research proposals in life sciences, genomics, and biotechnology in its Sixth Framework Program this week. The total budget for life science projects under the call is €540 million (US$648 million).

The call is seeking projects for “advanced genomics and its applications for health,” including fundamental knowledge and basic tools for functional genomics in all organisms, according to an EC statement.

The deadline for submitting proposals will be Nov. 16, 2004.

The four-year FP6 program has a total budget of €17.5 billion, with €2.3 billion earmarked for life sciences research.


Aclara Expands Breast Cancer Biomarker Agreement with Tokyo Institute

Aclara BioSciences announced this week that it has entered into an agreement with the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science to conduct a validation study on biomarkers for breast cancer previously detected with Aclara’s eTag technology.

The study follows on a feasibility study that the parties conducted on a small set of tissue samples from patients treated with Herceptin and chemotherapy. Aclara will provide funding for research, and the Tokyo Institute will have the rights to develop any validated biomarkers into a clinical diagnostic. Tokyo will collect samples and patient data, and Aclara will test the samples using its technology. The Tokyo Institute’s newly established Translational Research Center will coordinate the study.

South San Francisco-based molecular diagnostics company ViroLogic announced two weeks ago that it will acquire Aclara (see PM 6-4-04). The acquisition is expected to be finalized by the end of the third quarter or beginning of the fourth quarter, according to ViroLogic’s CEO Bill Young.


New Beamline Dedicated at Cornell

A new synchrotron beamline, known as G-line, was dedicated at Cornell University this Tuesday, the school announced this week.

The 3,000 square foot facility was funded with $3 million from Cornell and $2.5 million in equipment costs from the NSF, as well as other funds from the NSF, the university said. G-line is a division of Cornell’s High Energy Synchrotron Source, a national user facility funded by the NSF.

While CHESS is open to all researchers, G-Line devotes 80 percent of its time to Cornell users. Annual operating costs for G-Line will be paid by 10 of the university’s research groups.

The Scan

Two J&J Doses

Johnson & Johnson says two doses of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine provides increased protection against symptomatic COVID-19, CNN reports.

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Response in Kids

The Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in a lower-dose format appears to generate an immune response among children, according to the Washington Post.

Chicken Changes to Prevent Disease

The Guardian writes that researchers are looking at gene editing chickens to help prevent future pandemics.

PNAS Papers on Siberian Dog Ancestry, Insect Reproduction, Hippocampal Neurogenesis

In PNAS this week: ancestry and admixture among Siberian dogs, hormone role in fruit fly reproduction, and more.