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Roche, Illumina, Solexa, University of Warwick, Febit, SGI, NHGRI

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Sequencing Sales Help Drive 9 Percent Revenue Growth in H1 for Roche Applied Sciences
 
Roche said last week that revenue for its Applied Science division rose 9 percent for the first six months of the year, to CHF 331 million ($275 million), buoyed by strong sales of its LightCycler 480 and Genome Sequencer 20 and GS FLX systems.
 
Revenue for the company’s Diagnostics division, which houses Applied Science, rose 7 percent year over year to CHF 4.6 billion ($3.8 billion), while Molecular Diagnostics declined to CHF 574 million.
 
Roche said the dip in Molecular Diagnostics was expected as it continues to see the effects of a drop-off in its industrial reagents sales. Also, sales in its blood-screening business “remained flat.”
 
The company said in a statement that its acquisition of 454 Life Sciences, completed in May, “has strengthened Roche’s position as a key player in the sequencing market.”
 
Roche added that its proposed acquisition of NimbleGen Systems, announced in June, “will take Roche’s strategy of reinforcing its position as a complete solution provider in genomics research another step forward, by expanding activities into the microarray segment.”
 

 
Illumina Audit of Solexa Financials Discloses Falling Service Revenues, Widening Loss in FY 2006
 
Illumina last week filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission an audit of Solexa’s financial statements for the fiscal years ended Dec. 31, 2006, and 2005.
 
Solexa had not disclosed its full-year 2006 revenues prior to its acquisition by Illumina, which closed in late January.
 
According to the filing, Solexa’s service revenues fell to $2.5 million from $4.2 million in 2005, while its net loss widened to $43.8 million from $29.2 million in the prior year.
 
Full-year R&D costs rose to $25 million from $17.2 million in 2005.
 
As of Dec. 31, 2006, Solexa had $94.3 million in cash and cash equivalents.
 

 
U of Warwick to Lead Project to Sequence Mushroom Genome of Interest to Biofuel Research
 
The University of Warwick said this week that it is coordinating an international project to sequence the genome of Agaricus bisporus, a mushroom that decomposes plant material and is expected to play a role in biofuel development.
 
The Agaricus mushroom family is able to decompose plant material such as leaves and litter that is too tough for other fungi and bacteria to break down. “By sequencing the full genome of the mushroom, researchers hope to uncover exactly which genes are key to this process,” the university said in a statement.
 
The University of Warwick’s horticultural research arm Warwick HRI will provide genetic materials to the Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute, which will conduct the sequencing. The university will also organize the analysis of the sequence data and will curate the mushroom genome. 
 
The Agaricus bisporus genome is around 35 megabases and codes for around 11,000 genes. The researchers expect to have the genome around 90 percent in three years.
 

 
Febit Project Aims to Apply Geniom Biochip Platform to Next-Gen Sequencing
 
Febit Biotech said this week that it has achieved a “first milestone” in a product-development to apply its Geniom Biochip technology to enable selective sequencing on next-generation platforms.
 
The company said it is conducing the project with the Illumina/Solexa platform, but noted in a statement that it expects the approach to work with other systems, such as those from 454 Life Sciences and the Applied Biosystems SOLiD technology.
 
Peer Stähler, chief scientific officer of Febit, said in a statement that the company is “working with several partners” in this area and expects to launch its first products in 2008.
 

 
China National Human Genome Center Uses SGI System for Blood Fluke Genome Sequence Analysis
 
SGI said this week that the China National Human Genome Center is using its computational systems to analyze data for a project to sequence the genome of Schistosoma japonicum, the blood fluke parasite.
 
CHGC is using SGI’s RASC (Reconfigurable Application-Specific Computing) appliance and 8 terabytes of InfiniteStorage 350 storage solution. SGI said that scientists at the institute have reported a 10-fold speedup in query times with the combination of the RASC technology, an accelerated version of Blast-n developed by Mitrionics, and its Altix server platform.
 

 
NHGRI Earmarks $1M for ENCODE Data Analysis
 
The National Human Genome Research Institute plans to award $1 million in fiscal year 2008 to a data analysis center that will support the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project.
 
According to a request for applications issued last week, the data analysis center will “coordinate and … assist in the analysis of data produced by the ENCODE Consortium,” which plans to “apply high-throughput, cost-efficient approaches to generate a catalog of sequence-based functional elements in the human genome.”
 
The data analysis center will work with the ENCODE analysis working group to “coordinate the activities of the informatics groups of the individual Consortium member groups, the DCC, and the AWG; identify integrative analyses that should be carried out with the ENCODE data; perform all necessary data transformations and analyses with ENCODE data; and provide final ENCODE analysis data sets to the broad scientific community.”
 
Letters of intent are due Aug. 6 and applications are due Sept. 6.

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