June 2006- Volume 2, Issue 6

June 2006

In this Issue

Editor's Focus

Will SFC challenge SMB for large-scale purifications?

Will SFC challenge SMB for large-scale purifications?

Every major pharmaceutical company has by now invested in supercritical or sub-critical fluid chromatography (SFC) technology. This fact represents a win-win situation. Scientists like SFC because it is greener, safer, cleaner, and uses more nearly inert and easier to recycle solvents in the research laboratory compared to LC.

The Yin and Yang of screening for gene functions

The Yin and Yang of screening for gene functions

The most popular tool for modulating gene activity is RNAi knockdown, but the logical alternative, cDNA overexpression, has also proven fruitful in discovering new gene functions. Why, then, has it gotten so little attention compared to RNAi? Let’s see how these two alternatives actually compare.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE? Drugs can be safer, but never safe

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE? Drugs can be safer, but never safe

Over the last year or so, there has been an inordinate amount of press questioning the safety and tolerability of various drugs, whether in clinical trials or on the market. The recent hospitalization of people participating in a British clinical trial for TGN 412, as well as the rampant lawsuits against the makers of products like Vioxx, have shown the industry that it clearly has a lot of work ahead of it when it comes to maximizing the safety of people taking its drugs. While it has been widely acknowledged that animal studies will only take science so far in understanding a new drug’s behavior, I wonder if we still don’t put too much stock in animal models as a gauge of human response.

Transformative industry event?

Transformative industry event?

Early last month, when Thermo Electron and Fisher Scientific executives convened the conference call to announce what to date is the largest merger of its kind in the life sciences industry, one phrase kept popping up during the call: “industry transforming transaction.”

Genomics & Proteomics

Entering the proteome: GenePattern reaches past genomics

Entering the proteome: GenePattern reaches past genomics

Scientists at the Broad Institute release GenePattern 2.0, which includes components that permit analysis of proteomic data.

Genzyme-Brookwood team to overcome drug delivery problems

Genzyme-Brookwood team to overcome drug delivery problems

Genzyme Pharmaceuticals and Brookwood Pharmaceuticals embark on collaboration to develop novel drug delivery solutions, with an initial focus on peptide delivery.

Qiagen acquires Gentra Systems in $38-million deal

Qiagen acquires Gentra Systems in $38-million deal

The deal effectively buys out a competitor in a niche where Qiagen had struggled to develop a significant market for its own products.

Promoting partnerships: Sigma-Aldrich facilitates RNAi research

Promoting partnerships: Sigma-Aldrich facilitates RNAi research

Sigma-Aldrich recently announced the creation of an RNAi Partnership Program that will see academic researchers garner the benefits of work arising from within Sigma and its membership in The RNAi Consortium (TRC).

Automation & Instrumentation

SeraCare moves East

SeraCare moves East

SeraCare Life Sciences will consolidate its facilities and streamline operations by moving from California to Massachusetts and occupying a newly purchased manufacturing facility.

Trana Discovery hires former Glaxo execs

Trana Discovery hires former Glaxo execs

Former Neos Discovery has taken on a new name to more accurately reflect its area of expertise—Trana Discovery—and has also brought on board five former Glaxo executives to commercialize the company’s technology.

Biophage CRO gets a facelift

Biophage CRO gets a facelift

Seeking to help distinguish its immunotoxicity competencies from the phage-based biosensor business that is its namesake, Biophage Pharma Inc. recently completed a restructuring of its contract research organization (CRO) business.

PerkinElmer acquires array CGH assets from Spectral Genomics

PerkinElmer acquires array CGH assets from Spectral Genomics

PerkinElmer has expanded and deepened its screening and diagnostics offerings with the acquisition of Spectral Genomics’ assets for molecular karyotyping technology used to evaluate chromosomal abnormalities.

Mega merger: Thermo, Fisher to combine

Mega merger: Thermo, Fisher to combine

Companies merge in a stock transaction valued at more than $10.6 billion.

Research & Development

Biogen Idec expands oncology pipeline, acquires Conforma Therapeutics

Biogen Idec expands oncology pipeline, acquires Conforma Therapeutics

In a move that will expand its oncology pipeline, Biogen Idec announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement for the acquisition of Conforma Therapeutics Corp.

FivePrime gets protein screening deal from Boehringer Ingelheim

FivePrime gets protein screening deal from Boehringer Ingelheim

Bay Area protein therapeutics and discovery company FivePrime Therapeutics Inc. inks a two-year research and license deal with Boehringer Ingelheim.

Hitting the hot spots: Scientist fine-tune GPCR targeting

Hitting the hot spots: Scientist fine-tune GPCR targeting

In a recent issue of Science, researchers believe they have found a way to selectively target G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) with small-molecule compounds that interrupt protein-protein interactions.

Pathology purchase: SRI acquires Quality Clinical Labs

Pathology purchase: SRI acquires Quality Clinical Labs

In a move that was perhaps equal measure protective and proactive, SRI International announced recently it has acquired all the operations of clinical pathology analysis company Quality Clinical Labs (QCL).

Biologics buyouts: Merck buys GlycoFi, Abmaxis

Biologics buyouts: Merck buys GlycoFi, Abmaxis

Merck spends $480 million to acquire GlycoFi and Abmaxis to further strengthen its antibody and yeast expression technologies

Informatics

Amura, Proteom merge in silico and chemistry platforms

Amura, Proteom merge in silico and chemistry platforms

Amura Ltd. and Proteom Ltd.merge to focus on small-molecule drug design and discovery efforts geared toward inflammation and autoimmune diseases.

European collaboration seeks to eliminate barriers to hepatotoxicity tools

European collaboration seeks to eliminate barriers to hepatotoxicity tools

Aureus Pharma has teamed with Budapest, Hungary-based ChemAxon; the Budapest University of Technology and Economics; and Paris-based sanofi-aventis for a project called KnowTox.

Three integration deals propel GenoLogics toward better automating lab data

Three integration deals propel GenoLogics toward better automating lab data

GenoLogics Life Sciences Software finalized two integration deals that are expected to help propel the company along its path to be not just a conduit but a consolidator.

Design duo: Sigma-Aldrich gets exclusive license from Rosetta Inpharmatics

Design duo: Sigma-Aldrich gets exclusive license from Rosetta Inpharmatics

Sigma-Aldrich announced a licensing deal with Rosetta Inpharmatics regarding algorithms for the design siRNA tools for the research community.

The genetic deadzone? IBM probes junk DNA

The genetic deadzone? IBM probes junk DNA

Scientists at IBM Research announced recently the discovery of conserved sequence patterns within the human genome that suggest biological functions for DNA previously thought to represent dead areas between genes—the so-called junk DNA.
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