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Celera, LSBC, Nonlinear Dynamics, Ciphergen/LumiCyte, Luminex, ISB


Reorganization Boosts Headcount of Celera’s Proteomics Group

As part of its reorganization announced last week, Celera has made several changes to the proteomics operation at its Rockville, Md., headquarters, a spokesman said. Specifically, a group of scientists formerly involved in an effort to develop therapeutic vaccines will be redeployed to the proteomics group, to bolster its capabilities in cell biology.

In addition, the proteomics group has been assigned a permanent information technology administrator, to aid in the implementation of higher-end informatics for proteomics applications. No other changes were made to the proteomics effort, which the spokesman described as a “very strategic” part of Celera’s drug discovery program.


LSBC to Manufacture Plant Protein for Phylogix

Large Scale Biology Corporation said last week that it has signed a deal with Scarborough, Me.-based Phylogix to manufacture the company’s lead therapeutic protein, a native protein in hyacinth seeds called FRIL. The companies declined to disclosed the value of the deal, but said the work will take place at LSBC’s biomanufacturing facility in Owensboro, Ky., where the company will grow the hyacinth plants in the field and greenhouse, then harvest and purify the active ingredient for projected clinical trials.


Nonlinear Signs Up Thai Distributor

The bioinformatics company Nonlinear Dynamics said last week that Bio-Active Company will distribute the company’s Phoretix gel analysis software in Thailand. Bangkok-based Bio-Active, which supplies gel electrophoresis and other genomics and proteomics tools to Thai molecular biology researchers, will be the exclusive distributor for Nonlinear’s software in that country.


Trial Date Set in Ciphergen vs. LumiCyte Lawsuit

The judge in the civil suit between Ciphergen and LumiCyte has set a trial date for next January 21, according to a clerk for the Superior Court of the State of California for Santa Clara County, where the case is being heard. The suit, originally filed by Ciphergen in July 2000, concerns the right to SELDI (Surface Enhanced Laser Desorption/Ionization) protein biomarker chip technology.

Ciphergen has also sued LumiCyte founder William Hutchens, a founder and former board member of Ciphergen, for breach of fiduciary duty, alleging that he misappropriated trade secrets. Meanwhile, the parties are proceeding with discovery in the case. A settlement conference is scheduled for January 15, if the suit is not settled before then. Neither party chose to comment on the case.


Luminex Tags Tecan for Sample Prep System Project

Luminex has secured a collaboration with Swiss biotech instrument maker Tecan to develop and co-market an integrated sample preparation and assay system, the companies said last week.

The system, which will use Luminex’s xMAP bead array technology and Tecan’s bio-robotic liquid handling instruments and sample preparation systems, is expected to be available beginning in the end of 2002. At that point, the partners will co-market this system in a nonexclusive arrangement.

Luminex’ xMAP system uses microsphere-based assays with fluorescent tags and small lasers to perform up to 100 assays simultaneously on a drop of fluid. It can be used as a medium and high-throughput assay for pharmaceutical, diagnostics, and research applications.

Zurich, Switzerland-based Tecan has a site in Durham, NC.


ISB Turns To IBM for Computing Hardware and Software

The Institute for Systems Biology has chosen IBM to provide hardware and software for its computing infrastructure, ISB and IBM said last week. ISB will use IBM servers, storage equipment, and data integration products to support its research on protein-protein interactions.

ISB is replacing products from non-IBM vendors with the IBM systems, including a 64-node IBM eServer xSeries 1300 Cluster, with two micropressors per node. The prepackaged cluster will be used to process data from a network of mass spectrometers. ISB researchers will also use IBM’s DiscoveryLink software for integrating data from a variety of public and private data sources. Implementation of the hardware and software should be complete by the third quarter of 2002, the companies said.

In addition, the agreement allows for IBM and ISB to explore research collaborations in systems biology.

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.