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GeneBio, Current Science Group, Pepscan Systems, ServiceXS, Upstate Group, Chemicon International, GE Healthcare

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GeneBio and Current Science Group Form JV to Launch Protein Database

Geneva Bioinformatics and the Current Science Group, a London-based publishing group, have formed a joint venture to develop and market a web-based protein information resource, the companies said last week.

The new company, called Current BioData, will develop, promote, and distribute ProXenter, a protein database product developed by GeneBio over the last three years.

ProXenter focuses on specific groups of proteins of high interest to life sciences research, particularly the pharmaceutical industry. It consists of a protein relational database that holds a comprehensive dataset for each known protein in a specific group. This includes data from major databases, such as Swiss-Prot, manual annotation by experts, and pre-computed protein properties. ProXenter also offers a number of bioinformatics tools, as well as browsing, visualization, and analysis tools.

Current BioData and the Swiss-Prot Group at the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics plan to collaborate to keep the product updated.

The first version of ProXenter will be launched “very soon,” according to the companies.


Pepscan Enters Protease Collaboration with Solvay

Pepscan Systems and its Benelux distributor ServiceXS have entered into an agreement with Solvay Pharmaceuticals to de-orphanize a series of proteases, the companies said this week.

Under the terms of the agreement, Pepscan and ServiceXS will use “rationally and randomly designed” peptide arrays to identify novel peptide substrates for a series of proteases proprietary to Solvay, the companies said.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ServiceXS, based in Leiden, The Netherlands, has been the official distributor for Lelystad-based Pepscan Systems in the Benelux region since 2003.


Upstate Group Expands Scottish Kinase Production and Screening Facility

Upstate Group, a subsidiary of Serologicals, this week opened its newly expanded facility for kinase production and screening in Dundee, Scotland.

The new facility will generate and support Upstate’s kinase screening panel, which provides quantitative characterization of compounds against a panel of 191 kinases in optimized assays. Upstate said that it plans to add more than 100 new kinases to the panel in 2005.

A Serologicals spokesperson told ProteoMonitor’s sister publication GenomeWeb News that although no new employees have been hired for the expanded facility, the company plans to increase its Dundee-based workforce from about 75 to more than 100 by the end of 2005.


Serologicals Subsidiary to Market Quantum Dot Technology

Chemicon International, a subsidiary of Serologicals, will market specific quantum dot-containing products from Quantum Dot for the detection of antibody-antigen interactions in immunological experiments, the companies said last week.

This agreement will “add novel secondary antibody detection technologies to Chemicon’s general reagents product portfolio,” enabling researchers to study antigen presence in a variety of tissue and cell culture samples, the firms said.

Chemicon will sell these products under the Chemicon brand through its direct sales team in North America, Australia, UK, and “much of Europe,” as well as through its worldwide network of distributors, the companies said.

Financial terms were not disclosed.


GE Healthcare to Lay Off 120 Staffers from Sunnyvale Facility

GE Healthcare will lay off as many as 120 workers next week from its Sunnyvale, Calif., facility, according to the California Employment Development Department.

According to a listing of Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification act notices provided by CEDD, GE Healthcare is to lay off 120 of its Sunnyvale employees as of March 14.

The Sunnyvale facility served as the birthplace of Amersham Bioscience’s MegaBace DNA-sequencing technology and other genomics technologies.

A US-based spokesperson for GE Healthcare was not immediately able to confirm or comment regarding the potential lay-offs. It is unclear how many total GE Healthcare employees are based at the Sunnyvale facility.

ProteoMonitor’s sister publication BioCommerce Week reported in January that the facility would likely be downsized as part of GE Healthcare’s ongoing integration of Amersham Bioscience, and that the unit’s development workers were offered transfers to GE Healthcare’s offices in Piscataway, NJ.

The Scan

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.

Study Reveals Potential Sex-Specific Role for Noncoding RNA in Depression

A long, noncoding RNA called FEDORA appears to be a sex-specific regulator of major depressive disorder, affecting more women, researchers report in Science Advances.

New mRNA Vaccines Offer Hope for Fighting Malaria

A George Washington University-led team has developed mRNA vaccines for malaria that appear to provide protection in mice, as they report in NPJ Vaccines.

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.