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454 Life Sciences, Qiagen, SanAir, Gene Systems, CSHL, NHGRI, TriLink, Integrated Genomics, TMO Renewables, Illumina

Rothberg Predicts 454 Revenues to Exceed $70M in 2007
In a presentation at the BioIT World conference in Boston earlier this month, 454 Life Sciences founder Jonathan Rothberg said that the company expects that its revenues will exceed $70 million this year, and that the company will sell more than 100 sequencing instruments.
Earlier this month, CuraGen said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that 454 generated $12.9 million in revenues in the first quarter of 2007. Of those revenues, $8.4 million derived from products, $2.6 million from sequencing services, $375,000 from collaborations, and $1.5 million from milestone payments (see In Sequence 5/15/2007)
Last year, 454 brought in revenues of $37.3 million and placed more than 40 Genome Sequencers.

Qiagen to Distribute Whatman’s DNA-Storage Technology
Qiagen and Whatman said this week that they have signed a non-exclusive agreement that gives Qiagen the right to market and sell Whatman’s FTA DNA-handling technology in the life science research, molecular diagnostics, and applied testing markets.
The agreement gives Qiagen distribution rights for existing Whatman FTA products as well as customized products. Qiagen will pay Whatman an upfront fee that grants it non-exclusive distribution rights, and then the company will pay Whatman royalties on the sale of any products that use FTA.
Whatman's FTA technology allows scientists to collect, transport, archive, and release nucleic acids at room temperature, and has a range of potential applications including forensics, pharmacogenomics, biobanking, and genomics research, Qiagen said.
Qiagen said in a statement that nucleic acids stored on FTA and purified with its own sample-prep products “are well suited for downstream applications such as … PCR-based genotyping, molecular testing products, and comparative genomic studies.”
FTA is also compatible with Qiagen's whole-genome amplification technology, the company said.

SanAir and Gene Systems to Evaluate qPCR-based Bacteria Detection
Gene Systems and SanAir Technologies have begun a trial program to identify bacteria in water using qPCR, SanAir said last week.
Under the partnership, the companies will compare the performance of qPCR testing protocols with those based on culture and DNA sequencing methods.
Gene Systems has developed qPCR instruments designed specifically for testing Legionella and other bacteria.
SanAir said it will complete the initial phase of the study in mid-June.
HC Information Resources and Klenzoid Water Treatment will collect samples for the study.

CSHL Gets $1.3M to Manage Data for NHGRI's ModENCODE Project
The National Human Genome Research Institute has awarded $1.3 million to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to coordinate the data that will come from its recently launched modEncode project, CSHL said last week.
CSHR researcher Lincoln Stein will lead the data-coordination project.
Earlier last week, NHGRI said that it had awarded a total of $57 million to 10 research facilities under the modENCODE project, which aims to identify functional elements in the genomes of the model organisms Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans (see In Sequence 05/15/07)
The data from the modENCODE initiative is expected to be useful for genomic studies for humans and other organisms.
The CSHL data-coordination center will collaborate with computer scientists in the UK and in California to integrate the genomic data into a centralized database and combine it with public information from other sources.
The information then will be publicly available online.
Stein said in a statement that the project will "open an unprecedented window to how the elements of the genome influence the development of roundworms and fruit flies and how they respond to the environment."

TriLink Gets $100K NIGMS Grant to Develop PCR Technology
TriLink Biotechnologies, a maker of customized nucleic acid products, said last week that it has received a $100,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health to study a new approach to PCR activation.
The NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences awarded the grant.
The company said its so-called Hot Start PCR method uses chemically modified triphosphates that inhibit DNA polymerase activity until a thermal activation step.
TriLink said this method has shown "significant promise” in reducing off-target amplification products in PCR.
The company plans to study ways to optimize the Hot Start effect and to continue to investigate its benchtop applications.
TriLink said it is preparing to launch its first major novel PCR product, which resulted from an earlier SBIR grant.
TriLink CEO Richard Hogrefe said the company believes it will be able to launch a second product with “significant implications for the PCR market” by late 2008 as a result of the latest SBIR.

TMO Renewables To Use ERGO Software for Microbial Genome Analysis
Integrated Genomics said this week that industrial biotech firm TMO Renewables has licensed its ERGO bioinformatics software for use in its efforts to develop ethanol from biomass.
TMO will use ERGO for gene annotation, metabolic reconstruction, enzyme data mining, and comparative genomics, Integrated Genomics said.
TMO has developed microbes that are able to produce bioethanol from cellulosic feedstocks. ERGO “will enable us to further understand and exploit our thermophilic strains to their fullest potential to deliver the next generation of green biofuels", said Steven Martin, associate R&D director at TMO, in a statement.

Illumina Breaks Ground on New San Diego Facility
BioMed Realty Trust said last week that it broke ground on an 84,000-square-foot expansion of its Towne Centre Drive campus in San Diego, Calif., where Illumina will be the sole resident. 
The new facility will bring the total size of Illumina's presence in the University Towne Centre submarket of San Diego to 194,000 square feet.
BioMed, a real estate investment trust, expects to complete construction of the new facility in the third quarter of 2008.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.