Genetics and Business

I have been busy lately but found some time to go through an interesting story and a good article published in scientist magazine

  1. Father-in-law of now-infamous extensively drug-resistant TB patient studies tuberculosis at the CDC, and is now under review by the agency
  2. Genotyping with PCR -How to choose the right approach

I am working on an article about consolidation in Microarray and Bioinformatics industry so interesting to know about GenoLogics Announces Bioinformatics Partnership with Illumina  so is the  news of Roche acquiring Nimblgen and the end of patent wars with Affymetrix, Roche has also acquired 454 life sciences, It seems Roche plans to get inot clinical genomcis and theranostics application industry, the company already has FDA approved amplichip CYP450 arrays for clinical diagnostics

With many other acquisitions in the last one year  and many more in the pipeline it seems paydays for early starters.

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Device helps Third World fight AIDS- a Winner of World Bank Development Marketplace Award

Guava Technologies and PointCare Technologies are two coompanis etup to provide life saving tests to HIV patients at lower costs.

Former President Bill Clinton’s foundation last year signed a deal with privately held Guava Technologies Inc. to make smaller CD4 counting machines available in Africa at a discount

PointCare Technologies Inc., which makes a hematology device used for managing anti-retroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS patients, was one of the 22 winners selected this week in the World Bank Development Marketplace.

The competitive grant program funds creative, small-scale development projects that have the potential to be expanded or replicated.

Privately held PointCare was one of 104 finalists, selected from 3,000 proposals, who showcased their proposal to judges in Washington, D.C., this week.

PointCare’s portable AuRICA NOW testing equipment, which can be operated by nonlaboratory-trained personnel in rural areas, enables HIV-infected patients to be qualified for anti-retroviral therapy, the company said.

The project, which will receive $198,300 from the World Bank, will be carried out at St. Gabriel’s Hospital in Malawi and at 11 outreach clinics and six health centers in the area.

Setup by Petra B. Krauledat and husband W. Peter Hansen after their journey through the sub-Saharan Africa, where they talked to medical workers and patients about the need for a better way to analyze blood for the crucial immune-system cells that signal when a patient needs to begin taking anti-retroviral medicines.

ENCODE consortium: forming background of why 3 billions bp are required for a human to survive not just the set of genes.

ENCODE consortium today published one in nature and 28 papers in genome research involving 35 groups from 80 organizations around the world, which promise to reshape our understanding of how the human genome functions. The findings totally challenge the tidy collection of independent genes , but sees as a complex networking system, along with regulatory elements and other types of DNA sequences that do not code for proteins, interact in overlapping ways not yet fully understood.

“This impressive effort has uncovered many exciting surprises and blazed the way for future efforts to explore the functional landscape of the entire human genome,” said NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “Because of the hard work and keen insights of the ENCODE consortium, the scientific community will need to rethink some long-held views about what genes are and what they do, as well as how the genome’s functional elements have evolved. This could have significant implications for efforts to identify the DNA sequences involved in many human diseases.”

Loads to come out of this …. few days back in nature cell biology there was a article stating small peptide regulators of actin-based cell morphogenesis encoded by a polycistronic mRNA in an eukaryote…

Plants too recognise its kin

Now wonder,  research proves that even plants recognise their kins. Researchers from McMaster University have found that plants go competitive when forced to share their own environment like pot, with strangers of the same species, but they’re accommodating when potted with their siblings.

How they do it???

When a different plant of same species is potted with a growing plant they start growing more roots, which allows them to grab water and mineral nutrients before their neighbours get them. when they share a pot with family i.e the sibiling 1st or 2 nd generation they don’t increase their root growth. Because differences between groups of strangers and groups of siblings only occurred when they shared a pot, the root interactions may provide a cue for kin recognition. The following is the paper that is being published on the same.

Dudley, S. A. and A. L. File (2007). Kin recognition in an annual plant. Biology Letters, in press.

How Many Scientists Does it Take To Fix a Gene?

The headline of the article that appeared in a news paper was interesting, I thought I will use the same headline to right about it.

The original text of the article can be read at cityonHillPress

While reading the article I also came thougth its worth to have a look at the book Building Biotechnology  written by  Yali Friedman who serves on the science advisory board of Chakra Biotech and the editorial advisory boards of the Biotechnology Journal and Open Biotechnology Journal.

 Yali also publishes a blog at BiotechBlog.com

4th Dimension in Biology

4D imaging of different microorganisms was the first step of 4D in biology. Recently now from the University of Calgary, sun centre for excellence for visual genomics have created the 4D virtual human (CAVEman) with flesh, and muscles, a breakthrough step ahead in the medical informatics. This 4D virtual human can be used for many new pathways for surgical studies. It can be used also to see the disease and genetic changes virtually, allowing to assess the various morphological changes occuring during a diseased or genetically affected individual. You can download Demo verrsion so of the 4D demos of heart , human skelton and many more,

From science to business

It takes upto to 15 years and multimillion  dollar investments  to patent and market one successful drug for pharmaceutical and biotech industry. Trying to make the sure that the scientists receive the best R&D support possible companies have looked at outsourcing and insourcing and everything else.

And the new boy in the buzz world is “crowdsourcing” claiming businesses a way to tap into a larger, global community of scientists and R&D exeutives.

Crowdsourcing is a business model in which a company or institution takes a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsources it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call over the Internet. The work is compensated with little or no pay in most cases. However, in a few examples the labor is well-compensated .

Did that made sense it sounds like open source in biotech fields. but hold on your horses, it not that straight forward, remember Nature has published an article about open source in drug discover industry some time back, there is big list of things that makes it a difficult project.

But there is one company that has pulled it off successfully set up by drug giant Eli Lilly in 2001, for its projects Innocentive is one such crowdsourcer, So far, chemicals and life sciences have been the main users of crowdsourcers, offering rewards of up to $1m if they are successful. There are other places , such as Nine Sigma and Yet2.com and Scienteur, offer similar models.

Another firm Procter & Gamble P&G also works with Nine Sigma , YourEncore andYet2.com and Innocentive

Boeing , Dow Chemical , Eli Lilly and Procter & Gamble , Solvay are number of companies that have benefited fro this model ,

IT industry has grown to this level because people were willing to share data and collaborate , ofcourse there is much difference between IT and biological industry . But will scientists from life science industry would do it- So far the answer is No- may in future they might be more open to such needs

Read Related studies Further at
The Value of Openness in Scientific Problem Solving

Can open-source R&D reinvigorate drug research a nature Review

Previous Blogs

Open source in Biotechnology

Online data Sharing for scientists – Will they accept it

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