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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
A Second Private Genome Project
18 August 1998 10:00 am
It's hard to imagine competition in the human genetics research business getting much hotter, but the temperature just rose a notch. Incyte Pharmaceuticals Inc., a genetic data company in Palo Alto, California, announced yesterday that it plans to invest $200 million over the next 2 years to sequence all the protein coding regions of the human genome.
Incyte's goal is to hunt for simple variations in the genetic code--also known as single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs--and locate them and about 100,000 human genes on a computerized map. These data will be kept in a proprietary trove, available only to those willing to pay Incyte's stiff fees. Researchers expect to use SNPs to trace patterns of inherited vulnerability to disease and to identify individuals who might benefit from new drugs being developed. As part of this new hunt for SNPs, Incyte said yesterday that it will acquire a small British company, Hexagen Inc. of Cambridge, U.K., which developed a proprietary method for identifying variant genes in the mouse.
Judging by the proposed budget, this project could rival a controversial sequencing and SNP-collection effort announced earlier this year by Perkin-Elmer Corp. and J. Craig Venter of The Institute for Genomic Research (ScienceNOW, 12 May). And it will produce a SNP collection possibly larger--and much earlier--than a fast-moving public project funded by the U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute. "Incyte is going to focus on genes and polymorphisms of interest for pharmaceutical development," says Randall Scott, the company's chief scientific officer. He will head a new division that expects to receive "$20 million to $30 million in cash" from Incyte as start-up money. It will raise the remainder of the money, according to Scott, from the sale of new stock, subscriptions to its database, and partnership deals with drug companies.
Other genetic researchers were impressed by Incyte's investment, but were cautious about the likely payoff. Fred Ledley, CEO of a SNP-based pharmaceutical company called Variagenics of Cambridge, Massachusetts, says "it won't be easy" to find SNPs or make them useful in drug research. Others are concerned about the proprietary nature of the venture. Says Eric Lander, director of the MIT Whitehead Center for Genome Research: "More data is good; I'm just sorry it isn't going to be available to the public."