Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Biotech Chief Bemoans Lack of Start-up Cash

Keith Powell believes UK start-ups suffer unduly from the limited venture capital funding available for early-stage businesses.

"It is survival of the fittest in Europe," he said. "In the US, there is more venture capital available. Companies can focus on developing products rather than staying in business."

As chief executive of PolyTherics, a London-based biotech business that won £2.3m of venture capital funding in 2007 to develop technologies to make drugs last longer in the body, he says the small number of start-ups available to investors is a factor.

"In California, you throw a stone and you can hit 10 biotech companies. It is good being a successful small company in London, but it would be good to have a community of small companies."

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Applied Biosystems and Translational Genomics Research Institute Accelerate use of Genomics Research for Medical Applications

Enhanced understanding of genetic basis of disease to hasten advent of personalized medicine

Phoenix, AZ – March 9, 2009 – Applied Biosystems, a division of Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE), and the Translational Genomics Research Institute, today announced a strategic alliance designed to accelerate research into complex diseases and medical conditions. As part of this alliance, a team of scientists from TGen and Applied Biosystems will employ the SOLiD™ 3 System, Applied Biosystems’ next-generation genomic analysis platform, to sequence DNA from thousands of patients with a variety of diseases. The goal of this research is to translate scientific discoveries at the genetic level into knowledge about the underlying causes of disease that may ultimately be used to create cutting-edge tools for use in clinical diagnosis.

The alliance enables TGen researchers to apply best-of-breed sequencing technology across a broad spectrum of research efforts that focus on developing a more personalized approach to medicine. This approach, which is known as personalized medicine, represents a potential clinical shift from treatment of disease based on symptoms, to therapy that is specific to an individual’s unique genetic make up. Among the goals of this project is to advance the promise of personalized medicine by reducing the cost of genome sequencing to make it a routine diagnostic tool in medical care.

“This strategic alliance will accelerate genomic discoveries by integrating relevant scientific findings into the clinical setting,” said Mark Stevenson, President and Chief Operating Officer of Life Technologies. “The SOLiD System will help this team of scientists and other researchers and clinicians interpret how genetic variation can improve the ability to create more effective therapeutic solutions, bringing personalized medicine one step closer to mainstream application.”

The scientists involved in this alliance will utilize a total of five SOLiD 3 Systems to build a sequencing pipeline in connection with patient-centric, medically-directed resequencing on a cross section of patient samples. The results are expected to positively impact individuals with cancer, autoimmune and neurological disorders. The alliance will also involve the co-development of a bioinformatics analysis and visualization pipeline for the SOLiD platform. This will result in software tools designed to ease the analytical challenges associated with analyzing the vast amounts of data generated by human disease and cancer genomics applications of next generation sequencing.

Dr. Jeffrey Trent, President and Scientific Director of TGen, and other renowned principal investigators will partner with Applied Biosystems scientists to perform six different projects focused on comprehensive characterization of genetic and molecular changes occurring within clinical cohorts for each disease. The scientists at TGen chose the SOLiD technology for this project, due to its inherent scalability, unparalleled throughput and unmatched data accuracy. These attributes make the SOLiD System uniquely suited for translational research of complex diseases by enabling the detection of single nucleotide polymorphisms and other structural variation across the genome in large numbers of samples.

“Consistent with TGen’s mission of developing the next generation of diagnostics and therapeutics, the alliance with Applied Biosystems forges ties with a key industry partner whose technologies align seamlessly with our research objectives and should produce accelerated progress in our efforts to better understand the genetic underpinnings of many diseases, with a particular emphasis on cancer,” said Dr. Trent.

Applied Biosystems is a global leader in providing innovative instrument systems to accelerate academic and clinical research, drug discovery and development, pathogen detection and forensic DNA analysis. The technologies it markets include a robust line of DNA sequencing systems and chemistries to meet the increasing demands of the scientific community for higher throughput, more sophisticated DNA sequencing solutions. Applied Biosystems, together, with Invitrogen – a leading provider of platform independent, essential life science technologies for disease and drug research, bioproduction and diagnostics – is part of Life Technologies Corporation, which markets the life science industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of solutions for molecular and cell biology. Applied Biosystems and Invitrogen products are used in nearly every major laboratory in the world.

TGen is a growing leader in integrating medically directed technologies and applications into clinical practice, the results of which provide real solutions for patients. Through its recent alliance with the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan, TGen and VARI now have a national outreach to patient populations across multiple diseases. That alliance combines the groundbreaking basic research expertise of VARI with the cutting-edge translational genomics and analysis capabilities of TGen.

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About Life Technologies
Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:LIFE) is a global biotechnology tools company dedicated to improving the human condition. Our systems, consumables and services enable researchers to accelerate scientific exploration, driving to discoveries and developments that make life even better. Life Technologies customers do their work across the biological spectrum, working to advance personalized medicine, regenerative science, molecular diagnostics, agricultural and environmental research, and 21st century forensics. Life Technologies had sales of more than $3 billion in 2008, employs approximately 9,500 people, has a presence in more than 100 countries, and possesses a rapidly growing intellectual property estate of approximately 3,600 patents and exclusive licenses. Life Technologies was created by the combination of Invitrogen Corporation and Applied Biosystems Inc. For more information on how we are making a difference please visit our website:

About TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit:

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