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Wistar Institute, Amersham, GE, Advanced Bio/Chem, M.D. Anderson, University of Washington, SurroMed, Biogen, Proteome Sciences, NextGen Sciences, Burnham Institute, Activx, University of Hawaii, Windber Institute


Wistar and Partners get $3.4M from Tobacco Settlement for Lung Cancer Serum Tests

The Pennsylvania state government has awarded a Wistar Institute-led team $3.4 million to develop a serum biomarker test for lung cancer, Wistar announced last week. The money comes out of a $22.5 million research fund taken from Pennsylvania’s share of a national tobacco settlement.

Researchers from the Fox Chase Cancer Center and the University of Pennsylvania will join the Wistar in using both genomic and proteomic techniques to develop serum tests for lung cancer. David Speicher, who has said he will work to develop proteomic pattern tests for a variety of cancers, including lung, will be the principal investigator on the grant (see PM 2-27-04).

Amersham Shareholders Approve GE Acquisition

This week, Amersham shareholders approved General Electric’s acquisition of the company, thus clearing one of the last approval hurdles left before completing the $9.5 billion proposed merger. The companies announced GE’s acquisition plans last October (see PM 10-17-03).

Amersham shareholders, by proxy and at a court meeting and an extraordinary general meeting held in London, approved the share-exchange acquisition, the company said in a statement.

The transaction, which is still subject to approval by the British High Court, is expected to be completed on April 8. Amersham said that the pricing of the share exchange will be calculated based on the trading period between March 23 and April 5.

Under the terms of the merger, Amersham CEO William Castell will become a vice chairman of GE, and Amersham will become GE Healthcare Technologies, the first of GE’s divisions headquartered outside the US. GE has said it has no current plans to sell off any of Amersham’s divisions.

Advanced Bio/Chem Pens Breast Cancer Biomarker Deal with M.D. Anderson

Advanced Bio/Chem announced this week that it has licensed breast cancer protein biomarker technology from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

ProteEx, located in The Woodlands, Texas, is doing business under the name Advanced Bio/Chem.

The technology, relying on pattern-based biomarker discovery in breast ductal fluids, was jointly developed by the company and M.D. Anderson.

UW Gets $1.6M for Proteomics Center

The University of Washington Medical Center is set to receive $1.6 million in state funding to establish a proteomics research center and recruit faculty, according to a local media report.

The money, which will be matched by private funds, is part of a $6.1 million supplemental operational budget approved by Washington State lawmakers last week, according to The Daily, the UW campus newspaper.

The $6.1 million is part of $23.9 million the legislators agreed to give state universities and colleges.

Surromed and Biogen Extend Biomarker Collaboration

SurroMed and Biogen announced last week that they have extended their collaborative biomarker study.

SurroMed, based in Mountain View, Calif., will continue to analyze samples from multiple sclerosis patients treated with a drug from Biogen, using proteomics, metabolomics, and cytometry, to identify biomarkers.

Both companies started their collaboration in 2002 to track patient response to Biogen’s product.

Proteome Sciences Renames German Subsidiaries

Proteome Sciences announced this week that it has renamed the company’s German subsidiaries.

The company previously known as Xzillion has been renamed Proteome Sciences R&D. The company once known as Xzillion Verwaltungs has been renamed Proteome Sciences R&D Verwaltungs.

The name changes reflect the Proteome Sciences’ desire to keep one identifiable name for the whole company, according to a statement from Proteome Sciences.

NextGen Sciences Closes Funding Round

NextGen Sciences announced last week that it has completed a “significant” round of funding led by Create Partners and a group of German investors. The Create Partners’ investment was part of a £20 million ($36.3 million) CREATE East of England Fund that closed in November 2003. NextGen is the fund’s first investment, and the CEO of Create Partners has been appointed to NextGen’s board of directors, the company said (see p. 2).

Burnham Institute and Activx Find Prostate Cancer Use for Roche Obesity Drug

The La Jolla, Calif.-based Burnham Institute announced this week that it has found that the obesity drug Orlistat can also inhibit the growth of prostate cancer tumors. The results were published in the March 15 issue of Cancer Research.

The researchers, led by Jeffrey Smith, used Activx’ activity-based proteomics screen to monitor the activity of serine hydrolases in comparing normal prostate cells with prostate cancer cells. The screen found that prostate cancer cells show an increased activity of fatty acid synthase, which is inhibited by orlistat.

The research was supported by grants from the NCI and the US Department of Defense’s Prostate Cancer Program.

U Hawaii Partners with Windber on Genomics, Proteomics

The University of Hawaii signed a deal last week with the Pa.-based Windber Institute to develop a research alliance in proteomics and other technologies.

The collaborators have applied to develop a UH Manoa Center for Genomics, Proteomics, and Bioinformatics Research.

The Scan

Harvard Team Report One-Time Base Editing Treatment for Motor Neuron Disease in Mice

A base-editing approach restored SMN levels and improved motor function in a mouse model of spinal muscular atrophy, a new Science paper reports.

International Team Examines History of North American Horses

Genetic and other analyses presented in Science find that horses spread to the northern Rockies and Great Plains by the first half of the 17th century.

New Study Examines Genetic Dominance Within UK Biobank

Researchers analyze instances of genetic dominance within UK Biobank data, as they report in Science.

Cell Signaling Pathway Identified as Metastasis Suppressor

A new study in Nature homes in on the STING pathway as a suppressor of metastasis in a mouse model of lung cancer.