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Fisher Biosciences and U. of Michigan, Cellzome and Graffinity, Proteome Systems and Prince Henry s Institute Medical Research, Predicant Biosciences, Detroit R&D and NIH, and more ...


Fisher Unit to Fund Research at U of Michigan to Develop New Genomic, Proteomic Technologies

Fisher Biosciences, a unit of Fisher Scientific, will collaborate with the University of Michigan to develop new tools for genomic and proteomic research, the company said this week.

Under the five-year agreement, Fisher will financially support research projects at the Center for Chemical Genomics, a new center that is part of the university's Life Sciences Institute. Technologies to be developed are in the areas of high-throughput screening and detection, protein expression, chemical diversity, and bioinformatics.

In exchange for the funding, Fisher will have the opportunity to license new technologies resulting from the research.

Fisher said it is targeting the development of new procedures for protein testing and sample preparation, new ways of using RNA-interference products, and broader applications of high-content screening.

Cellzome, Graffinity Win $2.6M from German Gov't to Develop Immune System Treatments

Cellzome and Graffinity, a unit of Santhera Pharmaceuticals, will receive €1.1 million ($1.3 million) each from the German Ministry of Research and Education to discover new treatments for immune system disorders, the Heidelberg, Germany-based companies said this week.

Over the next two years, Graffinity will screen up to nine targets provided by Cellzome, using its fragment-based screening platform. It will also use part of the funding to increase the sensitivity of its technology.Cellzome will make use of its proteomics platform to identify targets and to profile hits and leads resulting from the collaboration.

The aim of the project is to discover small molecule leads directed against several kinases in signalling pathways of the immune system.

Proteome Systems, Prince Henry's Institute Medical Research to Co-Develop Ovarian Cancer Test

Proteome Systems and Prince Henry's Institute Medical Research of Melbourne, Australia, plan to co-develop an early diagnostic for ovarian cancer, the Sydney-based company said this week.

Proteome Systems brings several patented candidate markers to the partnership, while PHIMR contributes its technology in proteomics and reproductive biology, as well as its clinical expertise in ovarian cancer.

Predicant Biosciences Obtains $7.5M Debt Financing to Develop Protein Biomarker Technology

Predicant Biosciences has received $7.5 million in debt financing from Hercules Technology Growth Capital, the Palo Alto-based specialty finance company said this week.

Predicant will use the financing to develop and market protein biomarker technology for diagnostic tests.

The company, based in South San Francisco, Calif., has been developing separation, detection, and informatics technologies for identifying and assaying protein biomarkers for use in diagnostics and drug development.

Detroit R&D Receives $850K from NIH to Develop Recombinant Antibodies, Antibody Array

Detroit R&D recently received a $100,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research award from the National Institutes of Health to fund the production of single-chain recombinant antibodies for early detection of cancer.

In addition, the company received a $750,000 Phase II SBIR award to develop antibody microarrays to screen drug-metabolizing enzymes.

Previously, Detroit R&D had received six SBIRs to develop technology for studying hypertension, COX-2-dependent DNA damage, and drug screening. In addition, the company currently has two active Phase I SBIRs in breast cancer and fetal alcohol syndrome and one active Phase II SBIR in drug metabolism of frog embryos.

Brown University Receives $11M from NIH to Research Genomics, Proteomics of Cancer

Brown University has received a five-year, $11 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support genetically based cancer research at its Center for Genomics and Proteomics.

According to the university's newspaper, the Brown Daily Herald, five faculty members led by John Sedivy, a professor of medical science and the director of the Center for Genomics and Proteomics, will use the funds to investigate DNA damage, cell growth and division, hormone signaling, and other events that lead to the development or spread of cancer.

The $11 million NIH grant is the second grant given to Brown through the NIH's Center of Biomedical Research Excellence program. In 2000, the NIH awarded the university $11 million to fund the creation of the Center for Genomics and Proteomics.

PerkinElmer, Divesting Three Units, Shifts Focus on Health Sciences, Photonics

PerkinElmer will shift its strategic focus on the health sciences and photonic markets by selling its aerospace, semiconductor, and fluid-testing businesses, the company said last week.

"The proceeds will help us build our growth platforms, with particular emphasis on genetic screening, medical imaging, molecular medicine, and service," PE chairman and CEO Gregory Summe said in a company statement.

PE will sell its aerospace business to Eaton for approximately $333 million, and is in discussions to sell its semiconductor and fluid testing businesses by the end of the year. The company said it expects to gain a total of $400 million from the sale of the three businesses.

Ciphergen, UK University to Characterize, Validate Ovarian Cancer Biomarkers

The University College London and its BioMedica business-incubator subsidiary have signed an agreement with Ciphergen in which the three groups will use the company's proteomic research tools in ovarian cancer research, Ciphergen said last week.

Under the deal, Ciphergen will gain exclusive rights to license discoveries resulting from collaboration, the company said.

University College of London researchers and Ciphergen will validate and characterize ovarian cancer biomarkers and discover potential biomarkers from more than 1,000 patients and 4,000 control samples with the company's Deep Proteom, Pattern Track Process, and ProteinChip tools, the statement said. The research will attempt to distinguish ovarian cancer from other gynecologic masses using protein biomarkers, and will validate markers as described in the August 2004 issue of Cancer Research, the statement said.

The principal investigator of the project, Ian Jacobs, manages the United Kingdom Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening, a 200,000-patient trial, the statement added.

Invitrogen to Acquire Molecular Labeling Firms Quantum Dot and BioPixels

Invitrogen will acquire Quantum Dot and the BioPixels business unit of BioCrystal, both molecular probe providers, the company said today. In addition, Invitrogen said it has struck a deal with Georgia Tech Research to exclusively license nanocluster technology.

"These acquisitions, when combined with the license from Georgia Tech, provide Invitrogen with a significant intellectual property position and robust platform for product development based on advanced inorganic materials science for molecular detection," said Invitrogen's general manager of molecular probes, Augie Sick, in a company statement.

Invitrogen did not disclose the terms of the two acquisitions and the license agreement.

Quantum Dot offers biomolecular labeling and detection using its Quantum Dot semi-conductur nanocrystals, which emit bright light in a range of colors. BioPixels provides coatings and metal alloys for semi-conductor nanocrystals. Combining the two technologies will allow the creation of improved particles, according to Invitrogen.

The agreement with Georgia Tech gives the company access to nanoclusters that permit "true single molecule detection and representing another rapproach to the next generation of high sensitivity labeling and detection applications."

Further, Invitrogen said it has closed its acquisition of Biosource International. In July, the company announced its plan to purchase Biosource, a provider of proteins, antibodies, and other reagents, for $130 million in cash.


The Scan

Unique Germline Variants Found Among Black Prostate Cancer Patients

Through an exome sequencing study appearing in JCO Precision Oncology, researchers have found unique pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants within a cohort of Black prostate cancer patients.

Analysis of Endogenous Parvoviral Elements Found Within Animal Genomes

Researchers at PLOS Biology have examined the coevolution of endogenous parvoviral elements and animal genomes to gain insight into using the viruses as gene therapy vectors.

Saliva Testing Can Reveal Mosaic CNVs Important in Intellectual Disability

An Australian team has compared the yield of chromosomal microarray testing of both blood and saliva samples for syndromic intellectual disability in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.