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NIAID, Celera Dx, Celera Genomics, PerkinElmer, McGill University, Nonlinear Dynamics, Beckman Coulter, SomaLogic, NIH


NIAID Names Contractors for Biodefense Proteomics projects

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases published details this week about the five groups who have recently won $54 million worth of biodefense proteomics contracts (see PM 7-16-04).

A group led by George Orr at Albert Einstein College of Medicine will analyze Toxoplasma gondii and Cryptosporidium parvum. A consortium led by Karen Heichman at Myriad Genetics, with subcontractors at SUNY Stonybrook, UCLA, and the Robarts Research Institute, will focus on Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, and vaccinia. A group led by Peter Kuhn at the Scripps Research Institute will study the SARS virus, with participation by the Burnham Institute and the Palo Alto Research Center. Phillip Hanna at the University of Michigan will lead a group that will study Bacillus anthracis, with involvement from researchers at the Scripps Research Institute.

Margaret Moore at Social and Scientific Systems, in collaboration with Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and Georgetown University, will establish an administrative resource center.

Further information can be found at According to NIAID, this site will be updated as soon as the remaining contracts for the program are awarded.

Celera Dx Funds Biomarker Work at Celera Genomics; Plans to sell rockville facility

Celera Diagnostics, a joint venture between Celera Genomics and Applied Biosystems, is funding proteomics research at Celera Genomics to identify protein biomarkers in serum and tumor samples, the companies’ president, Kathy Ordoñez, said during an earnings conference call this week (see also PM 7-16-04).

The aim of the collaboration is to find biomarkers for the early detection of disease and for selecting appropriate therapies. The two businesses “will begin to consider partnering options for these opportunities” in fiscal year 2005, which started in July, Ordoñez said.

Celera Genomics reported narrowed losses and a drop in revenues in the fourth quarter of its fiscal year 2004 this year. It also said that it was planning to sell its facility in Rockville, Md., which houses its proteomics and bioinformatics groups.

Celera’s revenues decreased to $12.4 million in the quarter, from $21.5 million in the same quarter last year. The company attributed the losses primarily to continuing expiration of online and information business customer agreements.

Celera, a unit of Applera, reported a net loss of $5.8 million for the quarter, compared to $19.4 million in the same quarter last year. The company said the Q4 results included a $24.8 million pre-tax gain associated with the sale of its investment in Discovery Partners International, as well as an $18.1 million non-cash pre-tax charge representing the estimated loss on the planned Rockville sale.

The $18.1 million write-off is due to losses Celera expects to incur after selling the two-building facility in Rockville. Robert Bennett, a spokesman for the company, said Celera bought the property at the height of the market and would likely sell it at a loss. He also said the company plans to lease the facility from its new owner, and retain the proteomics and bioinformatics divisions that are housed there.

The company saw a slight rise in its R&D spending in Q4 2004, to $29.4 million, from $28.5 million in Q4 2003. As of June 30, Celera’s cash and short-term investments totaled approximately $746 million.

PerkinElmer’s Q2 Income and Revenues Up

PerkinElmer reported a second-quarter rise in income and revenues this week, as well as a revenue increase for its life and analytical sciences business.

Revenues for the quarter totaled $412.6 million, compared to $376.3 million for the year-ago quarter. Revenues in the life and analytical sciences segment were $257.9 million, versus $246 million for the same period last year.

R&D expenses for the second quarter came to $22.3 million, up slightly from the $21.9 million reported in the same period last year. The company reported income of $20.8 million, or $0.16 per share, compared to $8.4 million, or $0.07 per share, in the second quarter of 2003.

As of June 27, PerkinElmer had $196.7 million in cash and cash equivalents.

HUPO’s Mouse and Rat Proteome Project Still in Planning Phase; No Funding Yet

HUPO’s Mouse and Rat Proteome Project, first announced this spring, is still in the planning stage, according to program manager Sean Taylor of the Montreal Proteomics Network at McGill University.

The project, in which researchers plan to characterize proteins in rat and mouse tissues and organs starting with liver, is planned to get underway in early 2005, Taylor told ProteoMonitor. No funding has been secured yet.

Nonlinear Dynamics, LifeGels Sign Distribution Agreement

Nonlinear Dynamics and LifeGels have signed a distribution deal, the companies said this week. Under the agreement, LifeGels — formerly Gradipore — of New South Wales, Australia, will provide evaluation copies of Nonlinear’s TotalLab software to its customers with all pre-cast gel orders. LifeGels customers who upgrade to a full TotalLab license will receive four boxes of LifeGels pre-cast gels at no additional cost, Nonlinear, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, said.

Beckman Coulter Posts Rise in Q2 Sales and Income

Beckman Coulter reported a rise in second-quarter revenues this week, driven in part by growth in the company’s clinical diagnostics and biomedical research divisions. The company’s revenues for the period were $597.3 million, up from $551.8 million in the second quarter of 2003. Sales in the company’s clinical diagnostics division climbed 10 percent on strong sales of the UniCel Dxl 800 immunoassay system, while sales in its biomedical division were up four percent. The company posted net earnings of $58.3 million in the second quarter, an almost 12 percent increase over the $52.2 million recorded in same period last year. As of June 30, Beckman had $31.7 million in cash and cash equivalents.

SomaLogic Licenses DNA Modification Chemistry Patents from EC Technology

SomaLogic of Boulder, Colo., has obtained exclusive licenses to a number of patents from Denver-based EC Technology to develop aptamers with chemical diversity, a company spokesman told ProteoMonitor. “By combining the advantages of established aptamer technology with more antibody-like chemical diversity, we can now address the widest possible range of protein targets,” said Bruce Eaton, SomaLogic’s senior director of research, in a company statement. SomaLogic plans to sell proteomics-based diagnostics.

NIH Offers Proteomics Software for Licensing

The NIH is offering proteomics software developed by researchers at the NCI for licensing. The software allows multiple peptide ID files to be collated into a single file for analysis, allowing users to analyze and mine data from multiple proteomic experiments. It interfaces directly with Sequest, which cannot combine multiple peptide ID files or perform data mining. For more information, contact Michael Shmilovich at [email protected].


The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.