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Roche, Inqaba Biotechnical Industries, Illumina, TIGR, NIAID, PlasmidFactory, German Cancer Research Center

Roche Sells 454 GS20 to South African Biotech
Roche Applied Science said this week it has sold a 454 Life Sciences Genome Sequencer 20 to Inqaba Biotechnical Industries of Pretoria, South Africa. The sale includes an option for a later upgrade to the GS FLX.
Inqaba, Roche’s first customer for the 454 system in Africa, plans to offer sequencing services on the platform to regional as well as international customers starting in March. The company said it was supported by BioPAD, a biotech investment trust funded by South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology and an Inqaba shareholder, to create the 454 sequencing service.
Inqaba was founded in 2002 with start-up funding from South African, US, German, and Swiss scientists, as well as by a loan from the Swiss government.

Illumina to Repurchase $75M in Shares
Illumina said this week it plans to purchase up to $75 million of its outstanding common stock over a period of six months.
The program will be funded with a portion of the proceeds from Illumina's recent $400 million Convertible Senior Notes offering. Repurchased shares will be held in treasury.

TIGR Sequences Over 2,000 Flu Genomes Under NIAID Program; Data in GenBank
Researchers at the Institute for Genomic Research have sequenced the genomes of more than 2,000 influenza viruses and have deposited the data in GenBank, the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease said last week.
The data, produced under the NIAID’s Influenza Genome Sequencing Project, is generated by TIGR’s Microbial Sequencing Center. David Spiro and Claire Fraser at TIGR, and Elodie Ghedin at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine directed the project, which launched in 2004.
Other project collaborators include the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and several academic and clinical research institutions.
Last week, SeqWright said it has won a contract from the US Department of Agriculture to sequence 1,000 flu genomes (see related article in this issue)

PlasmidFactory Obtains Vector Manufacturing License From GermanCancerResearchCenter
PlasmidFactory of Bielefeld, Germany, said earlier this month its has obtained a worldwide license from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg to manufacture and market the pDG helper/packaging vector series used for adeno-associated virus production.
Under the contract, the company is also entitled to sub-license the vectors to other distributors.
PlasmidFactory is a contract manufacturer of plasmid DNA for research and clinical applications.

The Scan

Removal Inquiry

The Wall Street Journal reports that US lawmakers are seeking additional information about the request to remove SARS-CoV-2 sequence data from a database run by the National Institutes of Health.

Likely to End in Spring

Free lateral flow testing for SARS-CoV-2 may end in the UK by next spring, the head of Innova Medical Group says, according to the Financial Times.

Searching for More Codes

NPR reports that the US Department of Justice has accused an insurance and a data mining company of fraud.

Genome Biology Papers on GWAS Fine-Mapping Method, COVID-19 Susceptibility, Rheumatoid Arthritis

In Genome Biology this week: integrative fine-mapping approach, analysis of locus linked to COVID-19 susceptibility and severity, and more.