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Syrrx, GeneProt, Mats Johnson & GeneFormatics


Syrrx Gets $100K SBIR Grant for Robot Development

The San Diego-based protein structure company Syrrx last week said it had been awarded a $100,000 SBIR grant by NIH’s National Center for Research Resources to develop the next generation of its Agincourt robot. The robot, one of several automated instruments in Syrrx’s protein structure determination factory, is a high-throughput crystallization machine.

Currently, the robot uses approximately 100 times less protein than conventional crystallization approaches and is capable of processing one 96-well plate per minute — up to about 140,000 conditions per day. Syrrx uses the tool to search crystallization space for proteins suited to forming crystals. The company said that the next-generation Agincourt would be faster, cheaper, smaller, and better suited to the drug discovery process.


Former Roche Executive Joins GeneProt Management

GeneProt has hired Ranald Sutherland as vice president for business development, the company said Oct. 9. Sutherland, who most recently served as vice president for business development at F. Hoffman-La Roche in Basel, Switzerland, will report to GeneProt CEO CÈdric Loiret-Bernal.

In his new position, Sutherland will oversee product licensing, and the development of partnerships with pharmaceutical and technology companies, the company said. In early October, GeneProt moved its corporate headquarters to North Brunswick, NJ, from Evanston, Ill.

In addition to Roche, Sutherland has also served in management roles at Abbott Laboratories and the Battelle Memorial Institute.


KARO BIO Hires former Amersham Proteomics Executive

Mats Johnson, former vice president for proteomics business at Amersham Pharmacia Biotech, joined Stockholm-based Karo Bio Oct. 15 as vice president of marketing and business development.

In his new role, Johnson will report to Bjorn Nilsson, president and CEO of Karo Bio. The company, which also has offices in San Francisco, has developed a drug discovery program focused on nuclear receptors. Johnson replaces Marten Osterlund, who is leaving Karo Bio to pursue other opportunities, the company said.


GeneFormatics Raises $22M in Third Round of Financing

Structural proteomics company GeneFormatics raised $22 million from private investors and companies in a third round of financing, the company said Oct. 17.

New investors in GeneFormatics included Bruker AXS, Bruker Daltonics, Bruker BioSpin, Takara Shuzo, and China Development Bank. Perseus-Soros BioPharmaceutical Fund, and Merrill Lynch Ventures were among earlier investors who also participated in the third round. In its previous financing rounds, the company raised a combined $19 million.

Earlier this month, GeneFormatics and the three Bruker companies agreed to jointly develop experimental technologies for studying the three-dimensional structures of proteins. In January, Takara Shuzo agreed to commercialize GeneFormatics’ protein structure and function determination technology.


The Scan

Rise of BA.5

The New York Times reports that the Omicron subvariant BA.5 has become the dominant version of SARS-CoV-2 in the US.

UK Health Secretary Resigns

Sajid Javid, the UK health secretary, resigned along with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, saying they cannot work with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government, CNN reports.

Clones From Freeze-Dried Cells

A team in Japan has cloned mice from freeze-dried skin cells, according to the Guardian.

Genome Research Papers on Craniosynostosis, Macaque Retrotransposition, More

In Genome Research this week: structural variants in craniosynostosis, LINE-1 activity in rhesus macaque brain, and more.