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Ambion, Keystone Symposia Conference, EuroForum RNAi Conference, Galapagos Genomics, AVI BioPharma, Viral Expressions Systems Market Report


Ambion Nearing End of CFO SEARCH

After about a month of actively seeking a CFO, Ambion is nearing the end of the recruitment process, according to president Bruce Leander.

Ambion has never had a CFO, Leander told RNAi News, but said that “as we get larger … you need to add staff in critical areas,” thus the decision to create the new position. Currently, he noted, the company has about 300 employees.

Leander said that Ambion has enlisted the aid of international recruitment firm Korn/Ferry to assist in the search, and that interviews with potential CFOs, many of which are from the industry, are well underway. The company, he added, expects to have made a decision by the end of the year and plans to issue a press release announcing the new executive.

Ambion is also advertising the job on its website. Details can be found at

Keystone Symposia to Host siRNA/miRNA Conference

Keystone Symposia is hosting a six-day conference next year on siRNAs and miRNAs. The event will be held in at Keystone Resort in Keystone, Colo., beginning on April 14, 2004.

The organization is accepting abstracts up until Dec. 13. Early registration ends on Feb. 17, 2004.

Details about the symposium can be found at ListMeetings.cfm#4.

EuroForum Settles on Venue for Upcoming RNAi Conference

EuroForum International has settled on a location for its Nov. 17-18 RNAi conference.

The meeting is to be held in Kingsway Hall, Great Queen Street, London. Speakers will include Chris Echeverri, of Cenix BioScience; Michal Janitz, of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics; and Andrew Clifton, from AstraZeneca.

Details about the event, including registration and pricing, can be found at

Galapagos Genomics Publishes Overview of Gene Silencing Technology in Journal

Galapagos Genomics said this week that it has published details about its adenoviral siRNA-based gene silencing technology in the October issue of Genome Research.

According to the company, it has built a collection — called SilenceSelect — of adenoviruses capable of knocking down sequences targeting over 4,000 druggable human genes. Galapagos said that it is using the collection to internally develop products focusing on bone disorders and Alzheimer’s disease.

Development partners are being sought for targets already identified, the company added.

AVI BioPharma Begins Phase I Study of Metabolism Slowing Antisense Drug

AVI BioPharma said last week that it has begun phase I testing of its oral antisense drug AVI-4557, which targets the metabolic enzyme cytochrome P450 3A4. Cytochrome P450, said the company, is the liver enzyme responsible for breaking down about half of all commercially available drugs.

“Using AVI-4557 to slow the body’s metabolism of certain highly toxic drugs may allow for reduced dosing levels of those drugs, thereby potentially limiting toxic- ity without compromising efficacy,” Patrick Iversen, senior vice president of R&D at AVI, said in a statement.

Report: siRNA Research Contributes to Growth of Viral Expression Systems Market

A growing interest in siRNA technologies is playing a part in the expected 11 percent compound annual growth, over the next five years, of the market for viral expression systems, according to a report released by Front Line Strategic Consulting.

Accordigng to Front Line, this current $4 million market is expected to reach almost $6.7 million by 2008, driven by a rebound in the economy, increased research spending, technical improvements to the technology, the emergence of universal cloning systems, and increased siRNA research.

Front Line said that the viral expression systems market is presently dominated by a few major firms, including BD Clontech and Invitrogen, and that over the the next five years these leaders will acquire smaller players with promising technologies. The result will be that new marekt entrants will only occupy niche spaces, said Front Line.

The report is entitled Viral Expression Systems: Industry Trends and End-User Analysis. Details about the report can be found at /price_list.html#newsmr.

The Scan

Vaccine Update Recommended

A US Food and Drug Administration panel recommends booster vaccines be updated to target Omicron, CNBC reports.

US to Make More Vaccines for Monkeypox Available

The US is to make nearly 300,000 vaccine doses available in the coming weeks to stem the spread of human monkeypox virus, according to NPR.

Sentence Appealed

The Associated Press reports that Swedish prosecutors are appealing the sentence given to a surgeon once lauded for transplanting synthetic tracheas but then convicted of causing bodily harm.

Genome Biology Papers on COVID-19 Effector Genes, Virtual ChIP-seq, scDART

In Genome Biology this week: proposed COVID-19 effector genes, method to predict transcription factor binding patterns, and more.