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iCo Therapeutics, Cobra Biomanufacturing, Cequent, Wave Biotech, Lentigen, Invitrogen, SciQuest

iCo Macular EdemaIND Accepted by FDA
Antisense drug firm iCo Therapeutics said this week that the US Food and Drug Administration has accepted the company’s investigational new drug application for its diabetic macular edema drug iCo-007.
"We look forward to initiating our phase I clinical trial for diffuse diabetic macular edema in the first half of this year,” Andrew Rae, president and CEO of iCo, said in a statement.
The drug, which was licensed from Isis Pharmaceuticals late last year (see RNAi News, 12/21/2006), targets c-Raf kinase and is designed to decrease the edema in the retina by decreasing the signaling of various growth factors such as VEGF that signal through the c-raf kinase/MAP kinase pathway.

Cobra Signs Technology Deal with Cequent
Cobra Biomanufacturing said last week that it has signed a deal to apply its ORT antibiotic free maintenance technology to the development of Cequent Pharmaceuticals’ RNAi-based treatment for familial adenomatous polyposis.
The technology, according to Cobra, allows for the maintenance of recombinant plasmid DNA in complete absence of antibiotic resistance marker genes. Cequent’s RNAi technology involves the engineering of bacteria to express specific shRNAs (see related story, this issue).
Specific terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

Wave Biotech to Provide Process, Equipment Expertise to Lentigen
Lentigen said this week that it has signed a deal under which Wave Biotech will provide process and equipment expertise for Lenitgen’s lentiviral vector manufacturing platform.
Specific terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

Invitrogen, SciQuest Partner on Electronic Procurement
Invitrogen and SciQuest have signed a partnership to provide an electronic procurement software platform to Invitrogen's customers, the companies said this week.
SciQuest, based in Research Triangle Park, NC, specializes in on-demand supply management and automated procurement solutions.
The partnership will enable customers to use SciQuest's software to electronically purchase products from Invitrogen along with other vendors with a single purchase order, the companies said.
Michael Stapleton, Invitrogen’s vice president of e-business and marketing, said the partnership helps create a "one-stop shop" for customers who "are under pressure to streamline their purchasing processes."
The companies also said they have signed "numerous" customers for the new offering, including the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Exelixis, and Apoxis.

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.