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Integrated DNA Technologies and Promega, MWG Biotech, Intradigm, CombiMatrix and Axon Instruments, and Qiagen and Protedyne


IDT Takes License to ddRNAi Technology from Promega

Integrated DNA Technologies said last week that it has signed an agreement acquiring from Promega a license to make and sell oligos for DNA-directed RNAi applications.

DdRNAi, which involves DNA that transcribes double-stranded RNA, one strand of which has a sequence complementary to that of the target gene, was developed by Benitec. In April 2003, Promega acquired the worldwide rights, including sublicensing rights, to the technology in areas outside human therapeutics from Benitec.

Through the deal with Promega, Integrated DNA Technologies said it has become the first oligo manufacturer to obtain a license to the ddRNAi technology in the US.

Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

“Promega supports IDT’s proactive approach to protecting their commercial customers in acquiring the proper ddRNAi licensing for their oligonucleotides,” said Richard Schifreen, Promega’s director of technology and market development. “This latest agreement reflects the intent of Promega to make this licensing very accessible to companies conducting and supporting ddRNAi.”

Recently, Benitec initiated lawsuits against three RNAi firms for violation of its US ddRNAi patent (see RNAi News, 4/2/2004).

MWG Biotech Begins siRNA Production

MWG Biotech said this week that it has begun production of siRNAs at its headquarters in Ebersberg, Germany, and that production in its Greensboro, NC-based subsidiary will start in the second half of the year.

The company also noted that its siRNA products will be sold under the siMax name.

“The addition of siRNA for gene silencing extends the synergies of our existing functional genomics offering[s],” Wolfgang Pieken, CSO of MWG, said in a statement. “A perfect example for this is the combination of our successful MWG Inflammation Array, on which all known genes associated with the inflammatory process in humans are represented, with the matching set of siRNAs for complex functional genomics and proteomics analysis.”

Intradigm Says SARS siRNA Effective in Animal Study

Intradigm said this week that its siRNA inhibitors of SARS-CoV have achieved prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy in non-human primate cells.

These data — which stem from a collaboration between the company and researchers from Hong Kong University, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou Institute for Respiratory Diseases, Top Genomics, and Qiagen Sciences — were published in the June issue of Antiviral Therapy.

“We are very excited by this peer-reviewed publication on our SARS siRNA, which is further evidence that siRNA agents exhibit unique properties enabling rapid identification and development of therapeutics for respiratory viral infections and other diseases,” Intradigm chairman and CEO John Spears said in a statement. “The success of this in vitro study provides a solid foundation for further preclinical development, and it also benefits from a fruitful international collaboration.”

According to Intradigm, its SARS siRNA molecules are currently being evaluated for airway delivery.

CombiMatrix Inks Co-Marketing Deal with Axon

Acacia Research said this week that its CombiMatrix unit has entered a deal to co-market its CustomArray microarray platform with Axon Instruments’ GenePix scanners.

Under the deal, the companies will jointly support sales of the arrays and scanners. Additional terms were not disclosed.

“We’re pleased to have launched our first commercial product and are excited to have the opportunity to work with Axon Instruments,” Amit Kumar, president and CEO of CombiMatrix, said in a statement. “We have begun to build our own internal sales force and our base of key suppliers and partners to enhance our product platform.”

Qiagen, Protedyne Partner on Development of Nucleic Acid Purification System

Qiagen has formed a collaboration with Protedyne to develop a fully automated high-throughput nucleic acid sample preparation system for their molecular diagnostics customers, the companies said this week.

Under the deal, the companies will combine Qiagen’s nucleic acid sample preparation and handling technologies with Protedyne’s industrial laboratory automation know-how. Specific terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.