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Liotta, Petricoin, Invitrogen, Agilent, Bruker, College of William and Mary, Bruker AXS, Plexxikon, Incogen, NIH, BioSource, Bio-Rad, Illumina, CyVera, Ingenuity, NCI


Liotta, Petricoin to Add Co-Director Duties for George Mason-Inova Health Collaboration

George Mason University and Inova Health System last week announced that Lance Liotta and Emanuel Petricoin will direct a collaboration that will coordinate efforts conducted at three translational research centers at the two Virginia institutions.

Liotta, who is chief of the National Cancer Institute's pathology lab, and Emanuel Petricoin, formerly senior investigator in the office of cell tissue and gene therapies in the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research of the Food and Drug Administration, will co-direct the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine.

The other centers in the collaboration are the Center for Biomedical Genomics and the Center for the Study of Genomics of Liver Diseases.

Invitrogen, Agilent to Co-Market Pathogen-Detection System

Invitrogen and Agilent Technologies last week announced a two-year agreement to co-market the PathAlert System, a technology that combines Invitrogen reagents and Agilent's 2100 bioanalyzer or 5100 Automated Lab-on-a-Chip platforms.

Invitrogen will distribute the PCR-based technology, which as been successfully evaluated by the US Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency, the companies said.

The news comes one day after the US government held a hearing to discuss ways in which the different agencies responsible for overseeing pathogen detection can work together more effectively. As reported by ProteoMonitor's sister publication Pharmacogenomics Reporter last week, the outcome of this hearing could benefit companies developing pathogen-detection technologies, such as Cepheid, CombiMatrix, and now Invitrogen and Agilent.

By testing samples collected from the air, food, and water, the system may be used to detect infectious agents such as Bacillus anthracis, which causes anthrax; Yersinia pestis, which causes plague; Vaccinia, which causes a smallpox simulant; and Francisella tularensis, which causes tularemia.

Financial details of the collaboration were not disclosed.

Bruker to Deliver Giant NMR Magnet to College of William and Mary

Bruker BioSpin was to deliver a 17.6-tesla nuclear magnetic resonance device at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., last week, according to the university.

The magnet, which is one of only a handful of these very powerful research magnets in the US, will be installed in its own facility near the physics building at the college. The magnet will be used in materials research, including some medical applications.

The magnet was manufactured in Germany, and flown to the US, and then is being shipped to Virginia for Saturday deliver.

NMR spectroscopy is an emerging application in structural genomics and is used to study the structure and function of uncharacterized proteins from a variety of genomes at such institutions as the University of Toronto and Ontario Cancer Institute, and the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine at Rutgers University.

The magnets used in hospital NMR applications are typically rated at 1.5 teslas.

The project was funded by a $1 million grant from the Office of Naval Research, and a $770,000 award from the National Science Foundation.

Bruker AXS Opens X-Ray Crystallography Lab in the Netherlands

Bruker AXS has established a laboratory in Delft, the Netherlands, to investigate protein crystallization macromolecular structure.

The laboratory will combine X-ray instrumentation and technologies to determine 3D crystal structures of small molecules and proteins.

Bruker AXS is an operating subsidiary of Bruker BioSciences.

Invitrogen Inks Screening-Services Deal With Plexxikon

Invitrogen last week announced a kinase-screening services deal with Berkeley, Calif.- based Plexxikon.

Plexxikon is combining X-ray crystallography, molecular modeling, and chemistry to design compounds against certain disease targets.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Incogen Receives Second Half of NIH Funding For $2M Cancer Diagnostic Software Project

Incogen said last week that after meeting first-year milestones, it has received the $1.2 million remaining on a $2-million National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research grant.

According to Incogen, the grant will help support its research into cancer diagnostics, and involves a collaboration with researchers from the College of William and from the Eastern Virginia Medical School.

The NIH award is a Phase II follow-on to a previous grant received in 2003, Incogen said. That first grant provided funding for the development of a pilot project in the analysis of data obtained from Ciphergen's surface-enhanced laser desorption ionization (SELDI) mass spectrometry.

The Phase II work is focused on developing a clinical diagnostic software package based on Incogen's VIBE (Visual Integrated Bioinformatics Environment) software. Under the award, both academic institutions will serve as subcontractors to Incogen. The data will be produced at Eastern Virginia Medical School and analyzed at both Incogen and William & Mary.

BioSource Directors Reject Bio-Rad's $82M Acquisition Bid

BioSource International's directors unanimously rejected Bio-Rad Laboratories' $82 million offer to acquire the company, BioSource said last week.

In a letter to Bio-Rad CEO Norman Schwartz, the directors said they believed that Bio-Rad's April 6 offer of $8.50 per share was "significantly below BioSource's inherent value."

The directors further noted that prior to April 6, they had already been meeting with financial advisors to evaluate "strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company" to maximize financial results for its stockholders.

Microbead Developer CyVera Becomes Subsidiary of Illumina

Illumina has completed its previously announced acquisition of microbead developer CyVera for $17.5 million in stock and cash, the company said this week.

Illumina acquired the Connecticut-based company for 1.6 million of its shares of common stock and $2.5 million in cash, which includes CyVera's liabilities. Illumina also assumed CyVera's outstanding stock options.

Illumina first announced in February that it intended to purchase CyVera, which is now a wholly owned Illumina subsidiary.

Ingenuity Licenses Pathway Analysis Software to NCI

The National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research has licensed pathway analysis software from Ingenuity systems, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company said this week.

Under the agreement, all researchers at the NCI will have access to Ingenuity's Pathway Analysis software, which includes a curated database of protein, gene, cell, tissue, drug, and disease networks.

Ingenuity aims to gain a stronger foothold in the academic and government research world this year, CEO Jake Leschly said in a company statement.

The Scan

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

US Survey Data Suggests Ancestry Testing Leads Way in Awareness, Use of Genetic Testing Awareness

Although roughly three-quarters of surveyed individuals in a Genetics in Medicine study reported awareness of genetic testing, use of such tests was lower and varied with income, ancestry, and disease history.

Coral Genome Leads to Alternative Amino Acid Pathway Found in Other Non-Model Animals

An alternative cysteine biosynthesis pathway unearthed in the Acropora loripes genome subsequently turned up in sequences from non-mammalian, -nematode, or -arthropod animals, researchers report in Science Advances.

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.