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Broad Institute, Invitrogen, OncoGenex


Broad Institute 'Likely' to Start Occupying New Cambridge Home in April

The Broad Institute's new Cambridge home will be completed in January 2006 and the institute is "likely" to occupy the space in April, according to an institute spokeswoman.

"That's our goal," Michelle Nhuch told GenomeWeb News, RNAi News' sister publication, last week. The Broad's landlord, Boston Properties, last year said the building will be complete and available for occupancy during the first quarter of 2006.

The 230,000-square-foot facility is located at 7 Cambridge Center and sits near the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and the East Campus of MIT. The Broad is a partnership between MIT, the Whitehead, and Harvard, and people close to the matter said that the site was chosen for its proximity to these labs.

Cambridge Center is located at the center of Kendall Square directly across the Charles River from downtown Boston. The deal is believed to be the largest lab-lease agreement in Cambridge since Novartis decided to locate its US research headquarters in the area in 2002.

The Broad building will be 60 percent to 70 percent lab space and 30 percent to 40 percent office space. And although news reports in real-estate trade publications have said that the Broad will occupy 100 percent of the space, Nhuch said that a restaurant will occupy the first floor of the building.

Created in 2003, the Broad chose the 7 Cambridge Center address over an existing space located at 675 W. Kendall St. that had been leased by Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Last spring, Vertex tried and failed to entice the institute to sub-let the property — which was competing against the 7 Cambridge Center address for Broad's affection — at which point its owner, New Hampshire-based Lyme Properties, sold it to a realty trust at the end of May, according to a Lyme official.

The official noted that the Broad recently leased a 50,000-square-foot facility from its inventory located on 320 Bent St., in Cambridge. The institute currently occupies three Cambridge addresses: 320 Charles Street, 320 Bent Street, and One Kendall Square, Building 300.

Invitrogen Opens New Bio-Production Facility in Australia

Invitrogen said this week that it has opened a new cGMP bio-production facility focused on the development of safe and consistent bovine sera products and reagents used in research and vaccine production.

The 1,000-square-meter facility is located in New South Wales, Australia.

"While the industry is transitioning to advanced media and animal-free products, there is still a need to support researchers using traditional methodologies and to provide our customers worldwide with a safe, reliable source for these products," Gregory Lucier, Invitrogen's chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

OncoGenex Begins Phase II Trial of Antisense Cancer Drug

OncoGenex said this week that it has started a phase II trial of OGX-011, a second-generation antisense drug, in newly diagnosed, previously untreated prostate cancer patients.

The drug targets the production of clusterin, a cell-survival protein that is up-regulated in response to standard anti-cancer treatments, said the company, and is being developed in collaboration with Isis Pharmaceuticals.

According to OncoGenex, the clinical study is the first of four phase II trials planned for the drug this year, and it is designed to assess the safety and efficacy of OGX-011 in prostate cancer patients receiving neo-adjuvant hormone therapy. Trials in breast, lung, and prostate cancers are slated to begin before the end of 2005.

The single-center, open-label phase II study will enroll up to 45 newly diagnosed, previously untreated patients, the company noted. Patients will receive 2-hour intravenous infusions of 640 mg OGX-011 weekly plus concomitant hormone ablation therapy for 12 weeks prior to radical prostatectomy. Increased clusterin expression protects prostate cancer cells from the cytotoxic effects of hormone ablation and chemotherapy and elevated levels of clusterin are associated with hormone resistance and metastasis.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.