The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Biotechnology, Health and Business in Canada, the United States and Worldwide

Tag Archives: Genome British Columbia

Monday Biotech Deal Review: May 30, 2011

Welcome to your Monday Biotech Deal Review for Monday May 30, 2011.  This week features summaries of the previous two weeks’ events in the biotech space, following the May 24 holiday weekend.  There hasn’t been too much activity, however Valeant is on the move, acquiring AB Sanitas for EUR 314M in cash.  Read on to learn more.   Read more of this post

I’ll Drink To That: Genome BC and Genome Canada Launch $3.4 million Grape and Wine Genomics Project

niagara_grape_vinesA team of researchers in British Columbia (UBC, SFU), Ontario (Guelph) and elsewhere (NRC, USDA) will be studying grapes and yeast to bring molecular techniques to bear on winemaking.  Ultimately, they aim to produce a hand-held device to “help growers monitor proteins in the vine or berry at any time” (a “vine-corder”?) that will be adapted from a detector developed by Paul Yager at the University of Washington.

Specific goals of the project are to:

  • Clarify how nitrogen fertilization affects hormone regulation of metabolic pathways important for berry ripening, chemical composition and wine quality
  • Determine the relationship between gene expression patterns and variation in amino acid composition at maturity in ripening berries
  • Develop biomarkers for vineyard monitoring of vine water stress
  • Use a systems biology approach to identify functions for each of the genes involved in the fermentation stress response and the regulation of molecular sugar and amino-acid transporters during wine fermentation
  • Deliver knowledge that leads to understanding the complex scientific, policy, industry and public issues involved in the application of genomics to the wine industry

They have a good head start, having identified 62 genes that are switched on during fermentation, so characterizing those will be a top priority.

Interestingly, the project also includes an ELSI-type component, to “help the Canadian industry and regulatory bodies better understand public concerns regarding the use of genomics technologies in the production of wine and the general food industry more generally.”

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Genome BC and PROOF Launch Phase Two of Biomarkers in Transplantation

RecycleMeGenome British Columbia and the Prevention of Organ Failure (PROOF) Centre of Excellence at UBC announced the launch of the second phase of the “Biomarkers in Transplantation” project, which aims to use a simple blood test to identify patients who are rejecting a transplanted organ.

The current test for rejection is a biopsy — which costs somewhere between $5-10 thousand dollars — and the average heart transplant recipient will need between 14 and 16 biopsies in the first year alone.

The new test is a biomarker test that has been “validated … in one group of patients” and is now being readied for the Health Canada and FDA approval process.

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