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Mirus and Genzyme, Dharmacon and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, CytRx, Commonwealth Biotechnologies and Fisher Scientific, CombiMatrix and Intel, and Select Conferences RNAi Europe 2004 Meeting


Mirus Inks Research Deal with Genzyme

Mirus said this week that it has signed an agreement granting Genzyme non-exclusive rights to use a number of the company’s technologies for research applications.

According to Mirus, included in the deal is the Pathway IV technology, which involves occluding blood flow in an arm or a leg with a tourniquet or cuff, then intravenously injecting a plasmid DNA solution. The pressure in the occlusion zone is elevated and makes the blood vessel wall temporarily more permeable, permitting the plasmid DNA to migrate into the adjoining muscle cells, said Mirus.

Specific terms of the deal with Genzyme were not disclosed.

“We are pleased to add Genzyme to our growing portfolio of licensing and collaboration partnerships,” Russell Smestad, president of Mirus, said in a statement. “Genzyme and Mirus have had a successful collaboration in this area for several years, selected results of which have been published. This agreement establishes this technology as an important research platform for Genzyme for years to come.”

Dharmacon Signs Reagent Deal with Wyeth

Dharmacon said this week that it has entered an agreement to supply custom siRNA reagents to the genomics research operations of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.

Under the deal, Dharmacon will supply Wyeth with its Smartpool reagents and individual Smartselection-designed duplexes covering 800 gene targets. Wyeth will use the reagents to advance its drug development research, said Dharmacon.

According to Dharmacon, the agreement expands the companies’ relationship, which dates back to December 2002.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CytRx to Present at Roth Capital Investment Conference

CytRx said this week that it is scheduled to present at the Roth Capital Partners New York conference on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

CytRx president and CEO Steven Kriegsman is scheduled to present an overview of the company and the progress of its drug development programs, including its phase I DNA-based HIV vaccine, at noon.

Commonwealth Signs Distribution Deal with Fisher

Commonwealth Biotechnologies said this week that it has entered into an exclusive distribution and sales agreement with Fisher Scientific for project-based research services.

According to Commonwealth, it will offer its platform technology services through Fisher. Additionally, Fisher will distribute Commonwealth products including the AccuTrac reagent for DNA sequencing.

Additional terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

CombiMatrix Enters Collaboration with Intel

Acacia Research said this week that its CombiMatrix unit has signed a deal with Intel to collaborate on feasibility projects using CombiMatrix’s core technology.

Additional details of the arrangement were not disclosed. A CombiMatrix spokesman told RNAi News that the deal is not specifically related to siRNA.

Select Conferences Schedules RNAi Europe Meeting for October

Select Conferences has scheduled for October its RNAi Europe 2004 meeting.

The event, being held at the Strand Palace Hotel in London, is slated for Oct. 18-19. It will feature sessions on such topics as recent advances in RNAi technology for drug development; the combination of siRNA-based gene knockdown with genome-wide expression profiling; nanoplex-mediated delivery of siRNAs; the design of siRNAs for target validation; the design and optimization of knockdown reagents; transfection of siRNA in cell microarrays; and developments in RNAi-based therapeutics.

Among the speakers slated to talk at the event are University of Massachusetts researcher and RNAi pioneer Craig Mello; Sirna Therapeutics senior vice president and COO Nassim Usman; David Evans, head of drug discovery at the Translational Genomics Research Institute; the University of Oslo’s Torgeir Holen; and Raymond Schiffelers, assistant professor of pharmaceutics at Utrecht University.

Details about the event, including registration information, can be found at

The Scan

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

TB Resistance Insights Gleaned From Genome Sequence, Antimicrobial Response Assays

Researchers in PLOS Biology explore M. tuberculosis resistance with a combination of sequencing and assays looking at the minimum inhibitory concentrations of 13 drugs.

Mendelian Disease Genes Prioritized Using Tissue-Specific Expression Clues

Mendelian gene candidates could be flagged for further functional analyses based on tissue-specific transcriptome and proteome profiles, a new Journal of Human Genetics paper says.

Single-Cell Sequencing Points to Embryo Mosaicism

Mosaicism may affect preimplantation genetic tests for aneuploidy, a single-cell sequencing-based analysis of almost three dozen embryos in PLOS Genetics finds.