December 2005- Volume 1, Issue 10

December 2005

In this Issue

Research & Development

Medisyn teams with Humanetics to drive natural compound discovery

Medisyn teams with Humanetics to drive natural compound discovery

In a time when many pharmaceutical operations are looking for novel therapeutics, drug discovery company Medisyn Technologies has decided to go with a novel partner instead. To that end, Medisyn recently inked a multi-year agreement for a strategic alliance with Minneapolis, Minn.-based Humanetics, a biotechnology company focused on discovery, development and commercialization of naturally occurring, non-prescription oral agents focused on disease prevention, particularly with regard to obesity, the immune system and cognitive function. Financial terms and exact duration of the agreement were not disclosed.

Therapeutics in Paradise: Fijian seaweed studied by Georgia Tech may house future pharmaceutical breakthroughs

Therapeutics in Paradise: Fijian seaweed studied by Georgia Tech may house future pharmaceutical breakthroughs

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have discovered 10 new molecular structures with pharmaceutical potential in a species of red seaweed known as Callophycus serratus that grows in the shallow coral reef along the coastline of Fiji in the south Pacific Ocean. Some of these natural compounds have exhibited the potential to kill cancer cells, bacteria and the HIV virus, according to Georgia Tech research. Two of them exhibit anti-bacterial activity specifically towards antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Appetite for Aptamers: MIT and Harvard might lead charge to targeted drug delivery via nanoparticle-aptamer bioconjugate

Appetite for Aptamers: MIT and Harvard might lead charge to targeted drug delivery via nanoparticle-aptamer bioconjugate

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University recently announced that they are receiving five-year funding from the National Cancer Institute, to the tune of $20 million, for the MIT-Harvard Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence. Closely following this announcement was the presentation of recent research at November’s 13th European Cancer Conference regarding the use of nanoparticle-aptamer bioconjugates for drug delivery, which was spearheaded by MIT and the Harvard Medical School.

Caprion, AstraZeneca collaborate

Caprion, AstraZeneca collaborate

Caprion Pharmaceuticals, a proteomics-based drug discovery company, in early November announced a collaboration agreement with AstraZeneca focused on the discovery of novel targets for prostate cancer. The intention of the collaboration is to push forward the development of innovative therapies, which in turn could bolster the development pipelines of both companies.

Informatics

Kinexus launches functional proteomics database

Kinexus launches functional proteomics database

After six years of work, Kinexus Bioinformatics Corp. recently launched its first Internet accessible, cell signaling proteomics database, KiNET, with built-in bioinformatics searching capabilities.

Dealing with data: BioVeris hooks into demographic database

Dealing with data: BioVeris hooks into demographic database

In late November, BioVeris Corp. announced a licensing and research agreement with Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital (JGH) that will see the biomedical testing specialist receive worldwide exclusive license to a repository of demographic and serological data of the vaccination status of a large immigrant population. The company is looking to leverage the database to develop and sell products and services related to vaccine-preventable infectious diseases, such as measles, rubella, varicella, and Hepatitis A.

Eidogen-Sertanty collaborates with KAI Pharmaceuticals in developing PKC modulators

Eidogen-Sertanty collaborates with KAI Pharmaceuticals in developing PKC modulators

Eidogen-Sertanty, a computational drug discovery solutions provider, announced recently that it has entered into a collaborative service project with KAI Pharmaceuticals, a South San Francisco, Calif.-based drug discovery company focused on the development of Protein Kinase C (PKC) modulators for a variety of diseases—particularly cardiovascular disease.

Q&A: Jonathan Sheldon, CSO, InforSense

Q&A: Jonathan Sheldon, CSO, InforSense

Technological developments in IT are letting companies think of drug discovery in a whole new way—replacing the unidirectional drug pipeline with a continuum of triggers and impacts. Recently, Executive Editor Randall C Willis spoke with Dr. Jonathan Sheldon, CSO of integrated analytics specialist InforSense, about the company’s views on the ever-expanding informatics environment.

GSK gets license to Applied InSilico’s ELE

GSK gets license to Applied InSilico’s ELE

Analytical solutions provider Applied InSilico recently announced that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) signed a multi-year licensing agreement for the application of its Evolutionary Learning Environment (ELE). The deal is part of a larger GSK initiative to develop a new global decision support environment for drug discovery areas such as model building, library design and drug candidate selection. No financial details were disclosed.

Automation & Instrumentation

Reify’s video-capture-based screening technology proves itself with in vivo and in vitro phenotypic screens

Reify’s video-capture-based screening technology proves itself with in vivo and in vitro phenotypic screens

The Sixth International Conference on Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School on October provided a venue for Reify’s Visible Discovery platform to show its mettle in two very different models: an in vivo analysis of cardiovascular structure and function in zebrafish and an in vitro analysis of transcription-associated gene dynamics. The posters for these two studies were presented by researchers at the Cardiovascular Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI).

Bruker buys two, creates new business group

Bruker buys two, creates new business group

In mid-November, Bruker AXS Inc. closed on the purchase of two X-ray microanalysis businesses: Berlin-based Roentec AG and the PGT unit of Princeton Gamma-Tech of Rocky Hill, N.J. At the closing, Bruker announced the formation of Bruker AXS Microanalysis Group, a new business unit which will leverage the technology and sales organizations of the two acquired companies in a business and application area that is new to Bruker AXS.

Made (better) in China: HD Biosciences/Organon sign research collaboration

Made (better) in China: HD Biosciences/Organon sign research collaboration

HD Biosciences announced in mid-November the signing of a collaborative agreement with Organon that will see the Chinese drug discovery and service specialist develop functional assays for several G-protein coupled receptors and ion channel targets discovered at the pharmaceutical company’s Newhouse, Scotland facility. Although financial details were not disclosed, Organon executive vice president global research Dr. David Nicholson suggests that the deal is worth more than $1 million.

Applied Bio invests in sequencing company VisiGen

Applied Bio invests in sequencing company VisiGen

Five-year-old sequencing company VisiGen Biotechnologies got a big shot in the arm recently with an equity investment and collaboration deal with Applied Biosystems Group. Concurrent with the Applied Bio deal, VisiGen also secured additional capital from its current investor DNA technology services company SeqWright Inc. Exact figures of the investements were not released.

GenTel Biosurfaces, Abnova team up: GenTel calls on Abnova to provide antibodies to order for custom microarrays

GenTel Biosurfaces, Abnova team up: GenTel calls on Abnova to provide antibodies to order for custom microarrays

GenTel Biosurfaces Inc., a multiplex immunoassay technology company, announced last month that it would partner with Taipei, Taiwan-based Abnova Corp. whereby Abnova would provide protein and antibody content for Gentel’s new custom multiplex immunoassay development service. GenTel will use it’s PATH ultra-thin nitrocellulose surface technology for the production of the multiplexed immunoassays, a technology the company claims has the highest sensitivity in the market for antibody microarrays.

Genomics & Proteomics

Making moves on malaria: Protein interaction networks provide clues to drug targets

Making moves on malaria: Protein interaction networks provide clues to drug targets

In two papers published back-to-back in Nature, researchers at Prolexys Pharmaceuticals, Seattle’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) elucidated and characterized the first large-scale protein interaction network of the major parasite that causes malaria, Plasmodium falciparum.

Agilent microarrays become more agile: New ink-jet manufacturing process quadruples feature density

Agilent microarrays become more agile: New ink-jet manufacturing process quadruples feature density

Agilent Technologies in late October unveiled its next-generation DNA microarray manufacturing process that will increase feature density of its ink-jet-based microarrays by more than four times in 2006 and perhaps tenfold or more in 2007.

Q&A: Steven Watkins, CSO, Lipomics

Q&A: Steven Watkins, CSO, Lipomics

Founded in 2000 and headquartered in West Sacramento, Calif., Lipomics Technologies specializes in analyzing and interpreting lipid metabolism with an eye toward a better understanding of disease progression and drug discovery. Recently, Executive Editor Randall C Willis talked to Dr. Steven Watkins about the company’s perspective on lipidomics and the pharmaceutical industry.

Global News

Q&A: Drs. Punam Sandhu, Dennis C. Dean, and Thomas A. Baillie, Drug Metabolism, Merck

Q&A: Drs. Punam Sandhu, Dennis C. Dean, and Thomas A. Baillie, Drug Metabolism, Merck

The last year has seen numerous discussions of the effectiveness of Phase 0/microdosing studies to prevent late-stage drug failures by highlighting pharmacokinetic failure earlier in the preclinical/clinical cycle. Recently, Executive Editor Randall C Willis spoke with Drs. Punam Sandhu, Dennis C. Dean, and Thomas A. Baillie from the Department of Drug Metabolism at Merck Research Laboratories about the company’s interests in Phase 0 and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS).

DOR BioPharma signs letter of intent to acquire Gastrotech Pharma: Acquisition bolsters biotherapeutics pipeline

DOR BioPharma signs letter of intent to acquire Gastrotech Pharma: Acquisition bolsters biotherapeutics pipeline

DOR BioPharma Inc. announced last month that it signed a binding letter of intent to acquire Gastrotech Pharma A/S, a private Danish biotechnology company based in Copenhagen. Gastrotech develops therapeutics based on peptide hormones to treat cancer and gastrointestinal diseases and conditions. Gastrotech was founded on technology developed at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden, which is known as the development cradle of growth hormone and IGF-1 research.
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