September 2005- Volume 1, Issue 7

September 2005

In this Issue

Research & Development

Array BioPharma makes plans to consolidate

Array BioPharma makes plans to consolidate

Array BioPharma recently announced an agreement to amend its Longmont, Colo., facilities leases, extending the term for Array’s current 75,000 square foot laboratory facility to May 31, 2013. Array also has the option to expand its leased space by up to 80,000 square feet and has the right to purchase the buildings it occupies.

Digitalis derivations: Will cancer drug candidates blossom from foxgloves?

Digitalis derivations: Will cancer drug candidates blossom from foxgloves?

The heart drug digitalis, derived from foxgloves, may someday soon add cancer treatment to its pharmaceutical repertoire. A technique used by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UWM) to alter digitoxin, a component of digitalis, created new compounds that showed efficacy against cancer cells during in vitro studies. Mouse studies are underway.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: “Smart bio-nanotubes” hold promise for drug, gene delivery

SPECIAL DELIVERY: “Smart bio-nanotubes” hold promise for drug, gene delivery

With the publication of the August 9 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientific community got a sneak peek of a discovery at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), that led to the development of what are being referred to as smart bio-nanotubes.

Solvay, Mayo tackle GI motility disorders

Solvay, Mayo tackle GI motility disorders

Solvay Pharmaceuticals recently announced an agreement to collaborate with the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research to investigate a novel mechanism of action to treat gastrointestinal motility disorders.

NeoRx 1st at Scripps Florida

NeoRx 1st at Scripps Florida

NeoRx in August became the first biotechnology company to enter into a research alliance with Scripps Florida, the newly established Palm Beach County, Fla., division of La Jolla, Calif.-based Scripps Research. The focus of this collaboration is on discovering novel, small-molecule, multi-targeted, protein kinase inhibitors as therapeutic agents, such as those needed for cancer treatment.

Automation & Instrumentation

Potential peptide array: CombiMatrix, Biodesign Institute at ASU seek to develop peptide arrays

Potential peptide array: CombiMatrix, Biodesign Institute at ASU seek to develop peptide arrays

Continuing a strategy of making its core technology available to a variety of outside research and development organizations, CombiMatrix announced last month that the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University has begun work toward the development of a peptide array synthesizer.

Thermo Electron acquires Ionalytics

Thermo Electron acquires Ionalytics

Thermo Electron Corp. announced in early August it had acquired Ottawa-based Ionalytics Corp. whose key technology is an ion filtering device used with mass spectrometers in bioanalysis, proteomics and drug discovery. The purchase comes amid Thermo’s continued bolstering of its LC-MS portfolio, that has also included the recent release of the LTQ Orbitrap at ASMS in June.

Advancing chemical genomics: NIH selects Odyssey Thera screening technology

Advancing chemical genomics: NIH selects Odyssey Thera screening technology

Biomolecular technology and pharmaceutical company Odyssey Thera announced recently it had signed an agreement to provide the NIH Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC) with a cell-based compound screening system that will be used to further the NIH Molecular Libraries Roadmap Initiative. The technology, protein-fragment complementation assay (PCA), will allow NCGC to screen human cell lines for the impact of potential drugs on biochemical pathways. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

K-D Medical expands

K-D Medical expands

In announcing plans by its Columbia, Md.-based subsidiary K-D Medical to acquire a new facility with two validated, class 100 clean rooms, CalbaTech not only had expanded manufacture of products on its mind, but also the opportunity to profit by leasing part of the new space to other companies—some of whom could be engaged in drug discovery efforts.

454 opens the door to low-cost, large-scale genomics

454 opens the door to low-cost, large-scale genomics

CuraGen subsidiary 454 Life Sciences recently announced the publication of a new method it developed for high-throughput, high-accuracy DNA sequencing that should open the door to widespread, cost-effective genomics efforts. The new method, which can sequence genomes 100 times faster than the more traditional Sanger method, was described in a paper published in Nature.

Genomics & Proteomics

U.S. Genomics pushes for MicroRNA focus

U.S. Genomics pushes for MicroRNA focus

Corporate profits are certainly a major impetus for U.S. Genomics’ new Direct Results fee-for-service program, but there is another side as well: The goal of encouraging more scientists to count individual molecules of microRNA (miRNA) in samples.

Genelabs advances HCV compounds

Genelabs advances HCV compounds

Biopharmaceutical company Genelabs Technologies announced it was advancing two of its drug discovery projects for testing as possible therapeutics against Hepatitis C virus (HCV). The compounds are part of a multi-pronged attack that relies on nucleoside- and non-nucleoside-based approaches.

Digging into the proteome: Affibody, Agilent Technologies eye protein targets

Digging into the proteome: Affibody, Agilent Technologies eye protein targets

Unlocking the secrets of the human proteome is the goal. Some of the keys to get those secrets into the open may rest at Swedish company Affibody AB, which along with Palo Alto, Calif.-based Agilent Technologies has entered into a cooperative agreement to develop advanced protein sample preparation solutions for human biomarker discovery.

U. Cincinnati researchers discover efficient stem cell harvesting technique

U. Cincinnati researchers discover efficient stem cell harvesting technique

University of Cin-cinnati scientists have discovered how blood-regenerating stem cells move from bone marrow into the blood stream. This finding, in turn, has led to the development of a new chemical compound that can accelerate the process of stem cell mobilization in mice—a technique that could eventually lead to more efficient stem cell harvesting for human use and potential therapeutics.

LONE STAR GENOMICS: Texas A&M joins with Lexicon to create genomics institute

LONE STAR GENOMICS: Texas A&M joins with Lexicon to create genomics institute

Tra-ditionally, the Texas A&M University system’s health sciences program hasn’t exactly been a darling in terms of getting research grants, particularly from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). But the university aims to change that with the founding of the Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine (TIGM).

Informatics

COLLABORATION OF THE MIND: GE, Harvard team up for neurodegenerative studies

COLLABORATION OF THE MIND: GE, Harvard team up for neurodegenerative studies

The Harvard Center for Neurodegeneration & Repair (HCNR) and GE Healthcare in August began a collaboration that will see HCNR use GE’s IN Cell Analyzer imaging system to advance its studies of the human central nervous system and neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, GE scientists will work with HCNR’s Center for Bioinformatics to develop new software tools addressing degenerative diseases of the brain.

Public proteomics: Kinexus launches KiNET proteomics database

Public proteomics: Kinexus launches KiNET proteomics database

Kinexus Bioinformatics Corp. will introduce its subscription-based KiNET database this fall, giving researchers a new online resource for functional proteomics data.

NCGR releases open source ISYS

NCGR releases open source ISYS

The National Center for Genome Resources (NCGR) has released its Integrated SYStem (ISYS) software platform—which integrates independent bioinformatic software tools and databases—in an open source version.

Preclinical ADMETox predictions: Bio-Rad, Aureus, Equbits team up for in silico ADME/Tox

Preclinical ADMETox predictions: Bio-Rad, Aureus, Equbits team up for in silico ADME/Tox

In early August, Bio-Rad Laboratories announced a collaboration to use specific data sets from knowledge management platform provider Aureus Pharma in conjunction with BioRad’s KnowItAll ADME/Tox software, which the companies say will provide improved in silico screening of potential drug candidates.

Global News

RegeneRx, CNMC explore treatment for degenerative muscle disease

RegeneRx, CNMC explore treatment for degenerative muscle disease

RegeneRx Biophar-maceuticals reported in early August that it had begun a collaboration with the Division of Cardiology at Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC) in Washington, D.C., to study thymosin beta 4 (TB4). The goal is to explore TB4’s ability to treat degenerative muscle diseases that often result in cardiomyopathy—a progressive deterioration and weakening of the heart.

Q&A: Joanne Harack, vice president, Affinium Pharmaceuticals

Q&A: Joanne Harack, vice president, Affinium Pharmaceuticals

Affinium Pharmaceuticals is a small structure-guided drug discovery company founded in 2000 that is focused on the development and commercialization of novel anti-infective medicines. Recently, company vice president Dr. Joanne Harack and the scientific team at Affinium took the time to talk to Executive Editor Randall C Willis about the current state of the anti-infectives market.

Osiris Therapeutics widens stem cell applications

Osiris Therapeutics widens stem cell applications

Osiris Therapeutics announced recently the expansion of a licensing agreement with JCR Pharmaceuticals that will see the Ashiya, Japan-based company sell adult human stem cells for use in drug screening and evaluation in Japan. The cell technology will allow companies involved in drug discovery and development to screen test compounds for a variety of metabolic effects.
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