November 2005- Volume 1, Issue 9

November 2005

In this Issue

Global News

Cardiome Pharma acquires Artesian Therapeutics

Cardiome Pharma acquires Artesian Therapeutics

Cardiome Pharma Corp. announced late last month that it completed its acquisition of Artesian Therapeutics Inc., a privately-held U.S. biopharmaceutical company, headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md. Artesian was founded in March of 2002 to discover and develop bi-functional small-molecule drugs for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Artesian currently has two advanced small-molecule discovery programs in the area of congestive heart failure.

Dharmacon and 10 institutes establish RNAi Global Initiative

Dharmacon and 10 institutes establish RNAi Global Initiative

Dharmacon Inc., a supplier of RNA and RNA interference (RNAi) research products, last month announced the formation of the Genome-Wide RNAi Global Initiative, an alliance of leading international biomedical research centers. The initial goal of the initiative is to accelerate the scientific and medical discoveries made possible by the recent availability of the first complete siRNA library to target genes across the entire human genome.

Research & Development

Funding biodefence vaccines: Consortium targets tularemia

Funding biodefence vaccines: Consortium targets tularemia

As part of a consortium of research institutes, Cerus Corp. announced it received funding from the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to conduct research into prophylactic vaccines against the bacterial infections that lead to tularemia. Cerus will receive $2.8 million, from a total three-year package of $23 million, to apply its killed-but-metabolically-active (KBMA) technology to develop vaccines that potentially offer the benefits of the more traditional killed and attenuated live vaccines without the concomitant risks.

ArQule to focus on oncology

ArQule to focus on oncology

Continuing progress in its preclinical and clinical programs has led ArQule, known in the past primarily for being a chemistry services business, to shift its focus to drug discovery efforts to develop innovative cancer therapeutics. As a result, the company will exit the chemistry services business altogether.

Imagining mass demand for mass spec tissue imaging

Imagining mass demand for mass spec tissue imaging

With $2.2 million in financing to fund start-up costs, Protein Discovery Inc. in October began offering mass spectrometry tissue imaging services to preclinical researchers.

Waiting to inhale: Syntonix and Boehringer Ingelheim begin joint work on peptide-based drugs patients can inhale

Waiting to inhale: Syntonix and Boehringer Ingelheim begin joint work on peptide-based drugs patients can inhale

A new collaboration between Syntonix Pharmaceuticals and Boehringer Ingelheim began joint work in mid-October to develop peptide-based drugs that patients can inhale rather than inject.

Strand, Elan collaborate

Strand, Elan collaborate

Strand Life Sciences, an in silico technologies company, has entered into a research collaboration with Elan Pharmaceuticals with the aim of supporting Elan’s drug discovery efforts. Elan Pharmaceuticals is a wholly owned subsidiary of Elan Corp., a Dublin, Ireland-based neuroscience-oriented biotechnology company that is focused on discovering, developing, manufacturing and marketing therapies in the areas of neurology, autoimmune diseases and severe pain.

New Products

H5N1 Bird Flu Assay in new Combimatrix Influenza Array and Service, Acacia Research Corp./CombiMatrix Group

H5N1 Bird Flu Assay in new Combimatrix Influenza Array and Service, Acacia Research Corp./CombiMatrix Group

Acacia Research Corp. announced that its CombiMatrix Group launched a new comprehensive influenza DNA microarray as well as services for the typing of influenza strains. CombiMatrix’s Influenza Microarray is now a member of the CatalogArray product line and can detect and accurately type flu strains using a protocol that requires less than four hours start to finish. This new microarray can identify H5N1 bird flu as well as all other strains of Influenza A. It can also provide information on mutations and novel strains of flu not yet seen.

Genomics & Proteomics

OriGene and Cytomyx to co-develop tools for cancer research

OriGene and Cytomyx to co-develop tools for cancer research

Cytomyx Holdings Plc announced last month that its U.S. subsidiary entered into an agreement with OriGene Technologies Inc., whereby Cytomyx will provide hundreds of highly characterized RNA tissue samples representing a wide range of cancers to OriGene, which will use the samples to develop new generations of its Rapid-Scan gene expression panel product line.

TEN DISEASES TO TACKLE: Wellcome, Perlegen, Affymetrix converge on genetic origin of diseases

TEN DISEASES TO TACKLE: Wellcome, Perlegen, Affymetrix converge on genetic origin of diseases

It’s an ambitious effort that the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute are undertaking: More than ten institutes in Great Britain and Africa coming together to conduct one of the largest whole-genome association programs ever, all to search for genes associated with ten complex diseases. But the WTCCC needed help, thus its decision to partner with Perlegen Sciences of Mountain View, Calif., and Affymetrix of Santa Clara, Calif.

Fisher teams up with U Michigan: Collaboration to foster new technology development

Fisher teams up with U Michigan: Collaboration to foster new technology development

Looking to expand its future product offerings in fields ranging from high-throughput screening to protein expression to RNAi, Fisher Biosciences launched a five-year collaboration with the Center for Chemical Genomics at the University of Michigan’s Life Sciences Institute (LSI). In exchange for providing technical expertise and financial support, Fisher will have the opportunity to license new technologies arising from the collaboration.

Abmaxis, BioArctic work takes on Alzheimer’s: The companies will work to create a therapeutic human monoclonal antibody

Abmaxis, BioArctic work takes on Alzheimer’s: The companies will work to create a therapeutic human monoclonal antibody

Abmaxis, a privately held biopharmaceutical company located here, recently signed a collaborative development agreement with Uppsala, Sweden-based BioArctic Neuro-science AB, a biotechnology company focused on the development of new treatments and diagnostics for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. The goal of the collaboration will be to jointly develop a therapeutic human monoclonal antibody for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

PUT SOME SUGAR ON IT: GlycoFi, Eli Lilly sign glycan research pact

PUT SOME SUGAR ON IT: GlycoFi, Eli Lilly sign glycan research pact

Venture-backed biotechnology company GlycoFi recently signed a broad, multi-product research and commercialization agreement with Eli Lilly to discover and develop biotherapeutics using its carbohydrate (glycan) optimization platform.

Informatics

Spotfire fuels informatics at Erasmus University

Spotfire fuels informatics at Erasmus University

In late October, Spotfire Inc. announced it entered into a three-year relationship with the Erasmus University Medical Center, based here, to provide it with DecisionSite business analytics software and consultation services as Erasmus looks to establish its own bioinformatics discipline. The project is led by the bioinformatics department unit of Erasmus Medical Center under the leadership of Prof. Peter Van der Spek.

Stanford gets ontology grant

Stanford gets ontology grant

The National Institutes of Health announced that it awarded the Stanford University School of Medicine a grant of $18.8 million to develop a National Center for Biomedical Ontology. The goal of the center is to design and implement computer systems that will allow life science researchers to share, compare and analyze data gathered from large-scale biomedical research. The grant is payable over five years and has the potential to be renewed for an additional five years.

RPI gets NIH grant for cheminformatics: NIH award is largest of six awarded to universities across the country

RPI gets NIH grant for cheminformatics: NIH award is largest of six awarded to universities across the country

Six universities nationwide can claim the honor of having been awarded grants by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the development of exploratory centers for cheminformatics research. But with only $4 million earmarked by NIH in fiscal year 2005 for this program, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is clearly the leader with its nearly $1 million award.

Spotfire unveils microarray application: Application is the first combined solution from Spotfire and Insightful Corp.

Spotfire unveils microarray application: Application is the first combined solution from Spotfire and Insightful Corp.

In late September, visual analytic software company Spotfire Inc. launched DecisionSite for Microarray Analysis (DSMA), a drug discovery application that combines the visual capabilities of the company’s DecisionSite interactive data visualization software with the microarray data analytics of Insightful Corp. According to Spotfire management, DSMA is the first application of its kind from Spotfire that drills deeper into a niche application within the life science and drug discovery area.

Automation & Instrumentation

Wellcome puts its trust in Illumina

Wellcome puts its trust in Illumina

Illumina announced recently that it has partnered with UK-based Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (WTSI) and Wellcome Trust Case-Control Consortium on an ambitious genomics and proteomics project. The goal: to enable Wellcome to better correlate genetic variation and gene function with particular disease states, thus enhancing drug discovery, allowing diseases to be detected earlier and permitting better choices of drugs for individual patients.

Making miRNA microarrays

Making miRNA microarrays

Ambion Inc., a provider of RNA analysis tools and reagents, recently announced it formalized a license and supply agreement with GE Healthcare whereby GE will manufacture for Ambion its mirVana line of microRNA (miRNA) microarrays using GE’s CodeLink bioarray technology. The mirVana miRNA bioarrays include a comprehensive panel of known human, mouse and rat miRNAs as well as Ambion’s proprietary, non-published microRNAs, Ambi-miRs.

Celliance buys gene expression technology from Innovata

Celliance buys gene expression technology from Innovata

Celliance Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Serologicals Corp., recently acquired the ubiquitous chromatin opening element (UCOE) gene expression technology from Innovata, a United Kingdom-based product development company working on respiratory diseases and inhaled medications. The companies did not disclose the sum paid for the technology.

Radley’s taps Syrris for U.S. Lara sales

Radley’s taps Syrris for U.S. Lara sales

Just 18 months after the introduction of its Lara Controlled Laboratory Reactor (CLR) system in the European market, U.K.-based laboratory equipment supplier Radleys announced an exclusive North American distribution partnership for the product with Syrris Inc. The deal covers sales and support of Lara, as well as the Coflux Calorimetry module.

Invitrogen expands share in nanotechnology market: Acquires Quantum Dot and BioPixels

Invitrogen expands share in nanotechnology market: Acquires Quantum Dot and BioPixels

Instrumentation and services company Invitrogen picked up nanotechnology specialists Quantum Dots, based in Hayward, Calif., and the BioPixels business unit of Westerville, Ohio-based BioCrystal, as well as licensing novel nanocluster technology from Atlanta’s Georgia Tech Research Corp. (GTRC).
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