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National Institutes of Health, Cyntellect, and Qiagen and Protedyne

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NIH Announces New SBIR, SBTT Grants for RNAi Research

The National Institutes of Health will be awarding grants to members of the small business community to support efforts that “develop new approaches and chemical modifications that will increase the long term stability, delivery, and targeting of siRNAs in cells and tissues for laboratory and therapeutic applications,” the NIH said last week.

Budgets up to $100,000 per year, and time periods up to two years for Phase I programs, may be requested, the NIH noted. Budgets up to $500,000 per year, and up to three years, may be requested for Phase II programs.

According to the NIH, “the need to combine high specificity with high potency is important to the continued development of siRNA in research and therapy development.” As such, the award program “will focus on techniques and technologies leading to improved chemical synthesis and delivery of RNAi, particularly those incorporating chemical modifications that change the properties of the siRNA molecules to increase their stability and their ability to be delivered more efficiently to target cells without increasing their toxicity.”

The awards will be made under the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer mechanisms, the NIH said. The number of awards will depend on the merits of the applications and the availability of funds.

Additional details about the funding opportunities are available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-05-041.html.


Cyntellect Signs Deal for Cell Xpress Service

San Diego-based Cyntellect said recently that it has entered into a formal agreement to provide access to its Cell Xpress service to an undisclosed US-based biotechnology company.

The agreement is the second one announced by Cyntellect since the service was launched in October 2004, when the company also said it had signed a partnership for Cell Xpress with Protein Design Labs.

Cyntellect’s LEAP (Laser-Enabled Analysis and Processing) platform, which is part of the company’s Cell Xpress service, allows researchers to image and measure protein secretions in situ in high-throughput on individual cells, as well as use laser-based elimination of undesired cells.


Qiagen Invests $2M in Protedyne; Companies Ink Nucleic Acid-Purification Technology Deal

Qiagen and Protedyne will jointly market the use of Protedyne’s BioCube system with Qiagen’s QIAamp nucleic acid purification products for use in high-throughput research and molecular diagnostics, the companies said this week.

In addition, Qiagen will invest approximately $2 million in Protedyne’s current Series D financing round, the companies said.

Qiagen has exclusive access to BioCube, Protedyne’s high-throughput automation platform. The companies originally agreed to develop the high-throughput nucleic acid sample-preparation platform in June 2004.

The companies said that the first commercial platform will be available in the second quarter of 2005, at which point both parties are expected to expand their collaboration by adding and validating additional applications.

The Scan

Another Resignation

According to the Wall Street Journal, a third advisory panel member has resigned following the US Food and Drug Administration's approval of an Alzheimer's disease drug.

Novavax Finds Its Vaccine Effective

Reuters reports Novavax's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.

Can't Be Used

The US Food and Drug Administration says millions of vaccine doses made at an embattled manufacturing facility cannot be used, the New York Times reports.

PLOS Papers on Frozen Shoulder GWAS, Epstein-Barr Effects on Immune Cell Epigenetics, More

In PLOS this week: genome-wide association study of frozen shoulder, epigenetic patterns of Epstein-Barr-infected B lymphocyte cells, and more.