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Ambion, Cenix, Qiagen, Agilent Technologies


Ambion and Cenix said this week that they have ready for sale siRNAs for more than 98 percent of all human, mouse, and rat genes listed in the public RefSeq database. The news comes about six months after the companies said that they had teamed up to commercialize a human genome-wide library of siRNAs.

"The original project was meant to only deal with the human genome," Cenix CEO and CSO Chris Echeverri said. "But since then, the relationship between the companies has been getting stronger and stronger, and we’ve been expanding the scope of our collaboration." Under the companies arrangement, Dresden, Germany-based Cenix is responsible for the siRNA designs and their update as the genome is annotated. Ambion, of Austin, Texas, handles all marketing and distribution.

According to Echeverri, the designs have been completed for at least three siRNAs per gene in the three genomes. “People can start ordering these now,” he said.

Cenix and Ambion’s announcement comes almost a month after Qiagen reported that it had begun designing a genome-wide siRNA collection for Novartis. At that time, Qiagen’s vice president of gene silencing Patrick Weiss said that it was, as far as he knew, it was the first time a company had undertaken development of a genome-wide siRNA library for a single customer.

Qiagen expects the Novartis library to be ready by the end of October.

Agilent Technologies and Qiagen said this week that they have combined their respective technologies to develop a system for the optimization and analysis of siRNA transfection.

The companies said that they combined Qiagen’s TransMessenger and RNAiFect transfection reagents and fluorescently tagged siRNAs with Agilent’s 2100 bioanalyzer and LabChip kits. The companies added that they are also working to develop applications to monitor the silencing effect of RNAi by antibody staining of cells or analysis of endpoint RT-PCR results.

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people 65 and older or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.