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Dharmacon, Inex Pharmaceuticals, RNAx, VWR


Three New Institutions Join Dharmacon's RNAi Screening Initiative

Dharmacon announced this week that Harvard Medical School, Stanford Medical School, and the VU University Medical Center in the Netherlands have joined the company's Genome-Wide RNAi Global Initiative, bringing the total number of initiative members to 15.

The initiative was started by Dharmacon late last year as part of an effort to help establish standards for conducting RNAi screening experiments while familiarizing member organizations with the company's RNAi products (see RNAi News, 10/7/2005).

"The addition of these new members with international reputations for research excellence will help strengthen the collaborative efforts of RNAi Global members to standardize and accelerate whole-genome RNAi screening," William Marshall, vice president of technology and business development at Dharmacon parent Fisher Biosciences, said in a statement.

Inex Revises Spin-Out Plan; New Company Will Own Oligo Delivery Technology

Inex Pharmaceuticals said this week that it has revised its plan for spinning out Tekmira Pharmaceuticals in part to fulfill a commitment made under a debt purchase and settlement agreement with the previous holders of certain convertible promissory notes.

Under the new spin-out plan, Inex's oligo delivery technology licensing arrangement with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals will be transferred entirely to Tekmira. The technology covered by that deal is currently the subject of litigation with former Inex subsidiary Protiva Biotherapeutics (see RNAi News, 6/22/2006).

Additionally, all of Inex's cash, pharmaceutical assets, and employees will be transferred to the spinout under the new plan.

Completion of this revised plan would allow Inex, which would have no pharmaceutical assets, to complete a financing with an investor group committed to investing $5.6 million in Inex by way of convertible debentures. The investor group will then acquire a new business for Inex.

RNAx Inks Sales Representation Deal with VWR

RNAx said last week that it has formed a co-exclusive, multi-year strategic alliance with German distribution firm VWR for sales representation for RNAx's automated RNAi validation services.

According to RNAx, its siRNA and shRNA validation services will now be available throughout Europe via local VWR representatives.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"With the experienced team of VWR's sales representatives, we will be able to target many more researchers and generate substantially more leads than we would ever have been able to do alone, even by investing in extending our own business development team," Jorg Potzsch, CEO of RNAx, said in a statement.

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.