The Biotechnology Industry Organization is considering creating a governing body that exclusively represents genomics and proteomics tool and technology companies, the influential lobbying group said last week.
“We are exploring — and I don’t mean this in a vague sense — quite deliberately the specific, refined needs of the genomic and proteomics companies [and] developing committees and business development groups to deal with their specific issues,” said Carl Feldbaum, president of the Washington-based group.
Such a group, he said, might even be put in place this year.
Currently, there is no equivalent industry group dedicated to the interests of genomics or proteomics companies. Part of the reason for this, experts say, is that that segment of biotech is still too small and nascent, and hasn’t yet reached the critical mass that might require an army of lobbyists prowling around legislators’ offices.
To date, BIO has the closest incarnation of such a group. Some companies in the genomics sector are currently affiliated with the organization in a section called Emerging Companies. These are mostly smaller companies with fewer than 250 people, so as these firms “become more numerous and more successful, and as their agenda matures, they tend to play a larger role” in BIO, Feldbaum said.
“As their agenda becomes more distinct from others [within the Emerging Companies section], they will earn their own agenda,” he said.
Lilly, Indiana Universities Pledge $12M for Proteomics
In an attempt to make Indiana the home of proteomics in the Midwest, Eli Lilly, Indiana University, and Purdue University said last week that they would contribute a total of $12 million to create a research center in Indianapolis populated with industry and academic scientists to develop new technology for proteomics research.
The Indiana Proteomics Consortium, as the initiative is called, will be funded over three years by $6 million from Indianapolis-based Lilly, and $3 million each from the two universities. The money would go to support the 20- to 30-odd scientists from Lilly and the two universities who are slated to participate in the consortium.
Applied Biosystems Teams With Caprioli at Vanderbilt
Applied Biosystems signed its fourth academic collaborator last week by pledging to support Richard Caprioli, a protein mass spectrometrist at Vanderbilt University.
Caprioli has pioneered a procedure for studying tissue samples directly using MALDI mass spectrometry, and ABI has agreed to provide Vanderbilt with its new MALDI TOF-TOF mass spectrometer at a deep discount, according to a Vanderbilt spokesman. ABI Director of Proteomics Steve Martin said the company hopes to work with Caprioli to modify the instrument to optimize it for studies of tissue samples.
ABI has not yet decided whether Caprioli’s research will translate into any new products.