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Briefs


Nov. 15, 2006

SUPERCOMPUTER VS SUPERBUG
University of Pennsylvania researchers (Center for Molecular Modeling) are using a Cray XT3 supercomputer at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center to study enzymes that inactivate penicillin-based antibiotics. The enzymes known as metallo-beta-lactamase (MBL) pose a potentially serious threat. In a series of simulations not previously possible, the team uncovered new atomic-level information about how MBL works and the reactions that occur as it attacks beta-lactam antibiotics. They hope the information will help pharma researchers developing drugs to inhibit MBLs before the bacteria evolve to become even more dangerous.

CLINPHONE BUYS; PHASE FORWARD THRIVES
DataLabs has agreed to be acquired by ClinPhone for roughly $31.5 million in cash and stock, pending shareholder approval. Both ClinPhone and DataLabs provide technology solutions for clinical trials. ClinPhone focuses on managing patients, medication and other components; DataLabs focused on the electronic collection of clinical data from doctors conducting clinical trials. Elsewhere, EDC-leader Phase Forward announced Q3 revenues of $28.0 million, a 26 percent jump from Q3 2005, and earnings of $2.8 million, up from $2.2 million.

ILLUMINA WINS AMGEN DEAL
Illumina announced an agreement with Amgen for the purchase and installation of a large, multi-component genetic analysis system for Infinium genotyping. Amgen, in collaboration with the Brigham & Women’s Hospital, will use Illumina’s HumanHap300-Duo BeadChip to analyze approximately 28,000 samples at Amgen’s facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as part of the Women’s Genome Health Study.

CASP’S PROTEIN PRODIGALS
Late this month researchers meet to evaluate CASP7 predictions. CASP — Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction — is the biennial competition to computationally predict the precise 3-D shape of target proteins from their amino acid sequences. CASP is now 12 years old. In CASP7, 104 targets have been released, and 200 “human” groups of predictors and 98 “prediction servers” are developing solutions.

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For reprints and/or copyright permission, please contact  Terry Manning, 781.972.1349 , tmanning@healthtech.com.