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ABI, Wash U Genomics Center, Sequenom, OpGen, JGI, Celera

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ABI's DNA Sequencing Revenue Declined 2 Percent in Fiscal Q1
 
For the first quarter of its fiscal year 2008, which ended Sept. 30, ABI reported $129 million in DNA sequencing revenues, down 2 percent from $131.5 million during the same period last year.
 
Overall revenues for the quarter climbed 5 percent to $501.2 million from $476.3 million during the year-ago quarter.
 
Research and development costs during the first quarter increased to $50.6 million, from $45.1 million in the prior year quarter, primarily due to investments in the SOLiD platform development.
 
The company recorded net income of $60.9 million, up from a net loss of $58.7 million a year ago, which was caused by costs related to its acquisition of Agencourt Personal Genomics last year.
 

 
Wash U Genomics Center to Spend $10M to Upgrade Bioinformatics for Next-Gen Sequencers
 
Washington University School of Medicine plans to spend more than $10 million to expand its informatics center to help it handle and store data from next-generation projects performed at the school’s Genome Sequencing Center, a spokeswoman for the university told GenomeWeb Daily News this week.
 
The 16,000-square-foot center will house 120 racks of data storage and computing equipment at the School of Medicine, the spokeswoman said.
 
The center’s director, Richard Wilson, said in a statement that the new data center will “provide the ‘extra space’ and more efficient data processing required by advanced sequencing technologies, and it will meet our computing needs for the next several years."
 
The announcement comes five months after IT directors from leading US genome-sequencing centers, including Wash U’s, said that their existing IT systems are insufficient to handle data from the new instruments (see In Sequence 8/5/2007).
 
Speaking at a conference in May, the directors said that as their next-gen platforms come online, IT managers are struggling to design new systems that can capture, analyze, manage, and store up to several terabytes of data per run.
 
The university announced the plan for the data center in tandem this week with the official groundbreaking ceremony for a new medical center on campus that will house, among other programs, the school’s labs for the Cancer Genome Atlas program. The GSC received $41 million for fiscal 2007 from the National Human Genome Research Institute for the Cancer Genome Atlas program.
 
The new medical facility is supported by a gift of $30 million from BJC HealthCare and will be named the BJC Institute of Health at Washington University.
 

 
Sequenom Hopes to Net $28M From Private Stock Placement
 
Sequenom said last week that it hopes to net $28 million in a private placement of 3.4 million shares of common stock at $9 apiece.  
 
The company said it plans to use the money to research, develop, and commercialize “various diagnostic tests,” and for general corporate purposes.
 
Sequenom also reaffirmed its full-year 2007 revenue guidance of $39 million to $41 million, which would be an increase of between 37 percent and 44 percent over 2006 revenues.
 
The company said Lehman Brothers and UBS Investment Bank were joint-lead placement agents in the private placement, and Oppenheimer & Co., Leerink Swann, and Rodman & Renshaw were co-placement agents.
 

 
CIA-Founded Non-Profit Invests in OpGen to Develop Microbial-Analysis Tech
 
Optical mapping company OpGen said this week it has received an undisclosed investment from In-Q-Tel, a non-profit firm launched by the US Central Intelligence Agency that invests in technologies "of importance to the intelligence community."
 
In a statement describing the investment, In-Q-Tel said that OpGen’s microbial genome-analysis technology will “significantly improve the user's ability to analyze organisms.”
 
The investment fits OpGen’s “move towards delivering stand-alone instruments and disposables for microbial analysis,” OpGen CSO Colin Dykes said in the statement.
 
The investment comes one month after OpGen closed a Series A funding round worth $23.6 million (see In Sequence 9/18/2007).
 

 
JGI Offering Free Workshop on Microbial Genomics and Metagenomics
 
The US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute is offering a free five-day workshop on Microbial Genomics and Metagenomics, in Walnut Creek, Calif., Jan. 7-11, 2008.
 
The workshop includes two days of intensive seminars and three days of hands-on tutorials. The goal is to provide training in microbial genomic and metagenomic analysis and to demonstrate how the cutting-edge science and technology of DOE JGI can enhance users’ research.
 
Participation is limited to 40 attendees, including graduate students, postdocs, and faculty or staff scientists. For more information, click here.
 

 
Celera Completes Acquisition of Atria Genetics
 
Celera said last week it has completed the acquisition of “substantially all” of the assets of Atria Genetics for approximately $33 million in cash.
 
South San Francisco-based Atria (see In Sequence 9/25/2007) provides DNA sequencing-based human leukocyte antigen testing products that are used for identifying potential donors for bone marrow transplantation. All 13 employees Atria employees are expected to join Celera.
 

 

The Scan

Genes Linked to White-Tailed Jackrabbits' Winter Coat Color Change

Climate change, the researchers noted in Science, may lead to camouflage mismatch and increase predation of white-tailed jackrabbits.

Adenine Base Editor Targets SCID Mutation in New Study

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, report in Cell that adenine base editing was able to produce functional T lymphocytes in a model of severe combined immune deficiency.

Researchers Find Gene Affecting Alkaline Sensitivity in Plants

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science have found a locus affecting alkaline-salinity sensitivity, which could aid in efforts to improve crop productivity, as they report in Science.

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.