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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

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.

Machine Learning Improves Diagnostic Accuracy of Breast Cancer MRI, Study Shows

Combining machine learning with radiologists' interpretations further increased the diagnostic accuracy of MRIs for breast cancer, a Science Translational Medicine paper finds.

Genome Damage in Neurons Triggers Alzheimer's-Linked Inflammation

Neurons harboring increased DNA double-strand breaks activate microglia to lead to neuroinflammation like that seen in Alzheimer's disease, a new Science Advances study finds.

Long COVID-19 Susceptibility Clues Contained in Blood Plasma Proteome

A longitudinal study in eBioMedicine found weeks-long blood plasma proteome shifts after SARS-CoV-2 infection, along with proteomic signatures that appeared to coincide with long Covid risk.