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Boehringer Ingelheim and Galapagos Genomics, CombiMatrix and InBio, Invitrogen, and Qiagen and Australian Proteome Analysis Facility


Boehringer Licenses Targets Resulting from Galapagos Collaboration

Boehringer Ingelheim has licensed a number of potential antiviral targets from Galapagos Genomics after identifying them using Galapagos’ gene knock-down technology, Galapagos said this week.

Scientists at Boehringer’s virology research center in Laval, Canada, used Galapagos’ SilenceSelect platform, a collection of adenoviruses with siRNA knock-down sequences targeting over 3,000 human transcripts, to identify a number of genes that influence viral replication in human cells.

As part of the two companies’ technology agreement from October 2003, Galapagos, which is based in the Netherlands and Belgium, will obtain a milestone payment from Boehringer for licensing the targets.

CombiMatrix Inks Distribution Deal with InBio

CombiMatrix said this week that it has signed an Australian and New Zealand distribution deal for its CustomArray microarray products with InBio.

Under the terms of the arrangement, InBio’s sales and marketing organization will market, sell, and service the CustomArray products in the two regions. Additional terms were not disclosed.

“We look forward to working with InBio and expanding our international distribution network,” Michael Tognotti, director of sales at CombiMatrix, said in a statement. “As we move forward this year, we will seek to further expand our distribution opportunities, both internationally and in the US.”

Invitrogen Sued by Former Employee for Sexual Harassment, Gender Discrimination

A former employee of Invitrogen late last year sued the company for alleged sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and creating a “hostile work environment,” according to legal documents obtained by RNAi News’ sister publication GenomeWeb News.

The former employee, salesperson Danielle Morais, claims in her suit that sometime before 2003 an employee of a company to which she sells Invitrogen products had harassed her, including making late-night phone calls and stalking, after Morais declined “a number” of requests by this employee to see him socially.

Morais, whom Invitrogen fired on Sept. 20, 2004, claims in her suit that Invitrogen failed to help her deal with the alleged harassment, and that she began to be treated differently at work and was discriminated against after she had notified Invitrogen of her experiences. The suit states that Invitrogen said the firing was a “business decision” prompted by Morais’ decreasing sales, and not a “personal” decision.

The suit claims that Morais was fired because Invitrogen “retaliated” against “her opposition to unlawful employment tactics.” It also states that Invitrogen acted with malice and/or reckless indifference to Morais’ rights.

The case, filed in United States District Court in the Southern District of New York on Dec. 22, 2004, claims Morais will “suffer irreparable injury, emotional distress and other compensable damage” unless the court grants relief, according to the court filing. Morais seeks injunctive relief, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

Participants in the case are scheduled to appear in a pre-trial conference on April 8.

The suit describes an employee who had worked for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and later Progenics Pharmaceuticals, both Invitrogen customers served by Morais, who had allegedly stalked Morais. The complaint also said the employee made lewd late-night telephone calls to Morais and said “inappropriate” things to her at other times. It was not clear whether this individual is still employed by Progenics.

Morais claims in her suit that these events led her to seek help from Invitrogen’s human resources department in January 2003. She said in the suit that soon after she took that step her manager began to grade her work using a “different standard” from the kind he used on his male employees and his female employees, and that he began to treat Morais “even worse” than before. The suit also states that this manager “treated [the women on his staff] with less respect” than he treated the men.

The manager was eventually replaced, though the suit did not provide a reason. The suit did not say whether there was a correlation between the sexual harassment allegations against the employee and Morais’ alleged harassment and discrimination at work.

In the suit, Morais claims that even though her work was equivalent to the work of her colleagues at Invitrogen, the company fired her.

Qiagen, Australian Proteome Analysis Facility Partner on Sample-Prep Tools

Qiagen and the Australian Proteome Analysis Facility plan to co-develop new proteomic sample preparation tools, APAF said this week.

Over the next three years, researchers at APAF will work with Qiagen to develop new tools and methods to reduce the complexity of samples prior to analyzing their proteins.

APAF, a government-funded research organization, is headquartered at Macquarie University in Sydney.

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.