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Syn X, U. of Ottawa, Structural GenomiX, GlaxoSmithKline, Nestle, Ciphergen, Matritech, BioForce


Syn X Licenses Patents from U. of Ottawa

Syn X Pharma has exclusively licensed two patents from the University of Ottawa Heart Institute that cover natriuretic peptides in cardiovascular disease. The patents cover inventions by Adolfo de Bold, a professor of pathology and researcher at the UOHI.

De Bold discovered atrial natriuretic factor (ANF), and since October 2000 has been working with Syn X on developing a potential point-of-care test for cardiac diseases based on brain natriuretic peptide, a cardiac hormone related to ANF.


SGX, Hereditary Disease Foundation in Huntington’s Disease Collaboration

Structural GenomiX of San Diego has signed on to a collaboration with the Hereditary Disease Foundation, a non-profit research group, to investigate the structure of the huntingtin protein in Huntington’s disease, the company said last week.

This is the first such protein structure determination effort for huntingtin, and is intended to further drug discovery and development efforts for Huntington’s disease. The parties will first determine how modifications in the three-dimensional structure of the huntingtin protein are involved in making it pathological. After this, they will attempt to identify drug leads that interact with the protein. The Hereditary Disease Foundation will pay SGX for the project, and will also pay royalties on drug leads, and make milestone payments.


GSK Chooses Beyond Genomics for Systems Biology Collaboration

GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to evaluate Beyond Genomics’ systems biology platform for identification of protein and metabolite markers of disease state and drug response, Beyond Genomics said last week.

The companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal. Beyond Genomics’ systems biology platform involves pattern recognition, clustering, and data mining software, as well as multi-dimensional chromatography and mass spectrometry, and nuclear magnetic resonance technology.


Got Proteomics? Nestle, Proteome Systems in Milk Research Program

Nestle has enlisted Proteome Systems of Sydney and Boston for a glycoproteomics research program, in which Proteome Systems will analyze the sugars that are attached to proteins in milk, Proteome Systems said last week. The researchers will look at the sugar modifications, which are thought to be tied to control of proteins that modulate the activity of milk proteins, the company said. The bioscience department at Nestle Research center, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, will work with Proteome Systems’ glycobiology group to investigate the sugars.


Ciphergen Opens Facility in Japan

Ciphergen’s Japanese subsidiary opened a “Biomarker Discovery Center” at its lab in Yokohama, Japan last week. The center, which the company modeled after Ciphergen’s similar centers in California, Pennsylvania, and Denmark, is slated to provide proteomics services to Japanese customers, including Ciphergen’s SELDI ProteinChip-brand systems, Biomek robotics, and a tandem mass spectrometer with a ProteinChip interface.

The subsidiary, Ciphergen Biosystems KK, is a joint venture of Ciphergen and SC BioSciences, which is itself a subsidiary of Japanese trading giant Sumitomo.


Matritech Announces $1.18 Million Financing

Matritech, a Newton, Mass.-based company that develops proteomics-based diagnostics, said last week that it had raised $1.18 million in financing. The funding comes in the form of 222,077 unregistered units of common stock and warrants, priced at $5.31 per unit. Each unit covers three shares of common stock for the company, which is traded on the Nasdaq exchange, and one warrant to purchase a share, at a discounted rate. The company said it will use the financing for its development of in vitro diagnostics, clinical trials, capital expenditures, working capital, and other purposes.


BioForce Gets DOD Grant for Nanoarray Breast Cancer Research

BioForce Nanosciences, of Ames, Iowa, announced last week that it has been awarded a US Department of Defense award for research into a nano-scale protein array for breast cancer cell signaling pathways.

The award, entitled “Protein Nanoarrays for Studying Malignant Progression in Breast Cancer Cell Lines,” comes out of The Breast Cancer Research Program, a congressional initiative managed by the Department of Defense’s Army Medical Research and Materiel Comment that is funded with $150 million in FY 2002. The research will be led by principal investigator Janice Huff, and is designed to precipitate development of sensitive breast cancer screening tests, as well as improved ways to monitor disease progression, define drug targets, and study patient response to chemotherapy.

The Scan

Genetic Testing Approach Explores Origins of Blastocyst Aneuploidy

Investigators in AJHG distinguish between aneuploidy events related to meiotic missegregation in haploid cells and those involving post-zygotic mitotic errors and mosaicism.

Study Looks at Parent Uncertainties After Children's Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Diagnoses

A qualitative study in EJHG looks at personal, practical, scientific, and existential uncertainties in parents as their children go through SCID diagnoses, treatment, and post-treatment stages.

Antimicrobial Resistance Study Highlights Key Protein Domains

By screening diverse versions of an outer membrane porin protein in Vibrio cholerae, researchers in PLOS Genetics flagged protein domain regions influencing antimicrobial resistance.

Latent HIV Found in White Blood Cells of Individuals on Long-Term Treatments

Researchers in Nature Microbiology find HIV genetic material in monocyte white blood cells and in macrophages that differentiated from them in individuals on HIV-suppressive treatment.