The Life Sciences Project Bulletin



New Projects in


No.17 – October 2003: Front Page Only





The Netherlands


1.      Delivery and controlled release systems for small and large therapeutic


2.      Bio-Nanotechnology Research in Life-sciences, Agrifood and Health


1.      “True” Lab-on-a-Chip systems by means of the proprietary MATAS platform





1.      Self-Assembly of Nano-Scale Protein Scaffolds


2.       Structure, Assembly, Function and Dynamics of Molecular Machines


3.       Molecular Devices and Smart Materials Based on A Novel Molecular Architecture


4.       Fabrication of Nano- Photoswitchs, Photosensors and Photocells by Self-Assembly Photosystem I on Solid Gold Surface


5.       Nanotechnology Based Skeletal Tissue Engineering and Gene Therapy


6.       Biological Nano-computer


7.       Protein Based Nanoparticles


8.       Molecularly Imprinted Polymeric (MIP) Nanotechnology


9.       Biosensors as a powerful diagnostic tool


10.    Self-Assembly of Very Short Peptide Fragments: Building Blocks of Bio-Nano-Material


11.    Encapsulation into Nanoscale Liposomes: from Basic Research to Applications


12.    A Capacitor-Based Single-Molecule Motion Detector


13.    G4 DNA - Organic Nano Conductors


14.    The Characterization and Applications of Molecular or Biomolecular-Functionalized Nanoparticle Hybrid Systems


15.    Nucleic Acid fragmentation in millisecond time scales by conventional X-ray machine: application to protein-nucleic acid footprinting


16.    Characterization of Nano-Scale Lipid Domains


17.    Rapid Bioelectronic HIV-Protease Drug Resistance Test and Drug-Potency Screening for AIDS Patients


18.    Optical Sensor for detection of chemical and biological substances


19.    Correlation Between Particle Size and Blood Vessel Dimensions


20.    Quick and painless mechanism for topical drug delivery into human patients


21.    Enzyme-Binding Proteins for Functional Nano-Structures


22.    Micro-Pyramid Technology: Small Pyramids – Big Deal


23.    Fabricating Nano-Scale Objects within Novel Type of Discrete Peptide Nanotubes


24.    Making Insoluble Active Compounds Soluble


25.    Recombinant Antibody Chips


26.    Technology for synthesizing specific, stable and potent nucleic acid based polymers


27.    Controlling the Interaction between the Ras Proteins and Nano-Scale Lipid Domains


28.    Immediate, topical drug delivery system utilizing an injection mechanism found in sea life


29.    Protein-Based Nano-Structured Composite Materials


30.    Title Emulsifying Equipment


31.    Protein 'Crystal Engineering': Self-Assembly of Protein 'Building-Blocks' into Nano Protein Crystals




1.     Health-Invest: The New Dutch magazine for Life Sciences


2.     Dutch  Initiative: NanoNed, Technology Assessment of NanoTechnology



In the News

1.   Peres to deliver keynote Nanotech address at U.S. conference


2.   Prestigious German prize for UT-scientist


3.   Dishing in the Laboratory


4.   Peptide Nanotubes Mould Silver Nanowires


5.   Nanotechnology and the 6th framework


6.   Given Imaging to launch new diagnostic capsule in November   




Coming up in the next Bulletins:

New projects in Gene Discovery and Functional Genomics


Publish your projects in the Life Sciences Project Bulletin


Projects from the previous Bulletins


One year subscription to the Life Sciences Project Bulletin  including all contact information for 95


For more information contact Optin’s Director Drs. Jennifer Peersmann or call +31-(0)70-3643260


For  background and contact information per project contact: Optin’s Life Sciences Manager Drs. Eli Guetta





DSM Venturing


IBM Life Sciences


Health Invest


Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd


Tel Aviv University


Rad-Biomed Incubator


Holland Biotechnology


WFIA / Israel Office Delft


Eden’s Creations/ Hoekert


The Embassy of Israel









Life Sciences meet Micro- and Nanotechnology

Seminar, The European SME B2B accelerator

29 October 2003, Maastricht, The Netherlands



Science and Applications of Nanostructures

The Hebrew University Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

3 November 2003, Jerusalem, Israel



World Nano-Economic Congress

"Where Nanotechnology and Business Meet"

3-6 November 2003,  London,  England



Genomics Momentum 2003

27 November 2003,  Amsterdam,  The Netherlands



8th European Symposium on controlled Drug Delivery

7-9 April 2004, Noordwijk aan Zee, The Netherlands



Biotech Israel 2004

4-6 May 2004. David Intercontinental Hotel, Tel Aviv, Israel





·     EOI'S for the Sixth Framework







Health-Invest: The New Dutch magazine for Life Sciences

Health-Invest is a new magazine with popular scientific articles about the newest developments in Life Sciences in The Netherlands: health, new medicine and food. The magazine also includes fashion, carrier and financial business. Health-Invest wil highlight various subjects through combining Life Sciences and Life Style. Attention wil go to  stormy developments in the medical sciences, for innovative medical research and company profiles, as wel as developments in the general health and prosperity of society. Health-Invest is a Dutch language, internationaal orientated magazine about health and prosperity made for a large audience: from starters in Life Sciences, to those interested in health-care, the food sector, students, and especcially investors and eveyone interested in his own health. The next issue of Health-Invest will come out in January 2004 and wil focus on:  Nanotechnology Nanotechnology is today seen as the most important industrial revolution of the 21st century. In the next 25 years an enormous market will develop for products made with the help of this technique. Besides the information technology the medical profession wil also profit from nanotechnology. Our body is made up of cells and a technology that works on that level is much beter suited for treating sick cells than the treatments now available. The Netherlands has in this area a very good starting position in order to become an important  partner in this enormous nanotechnology market.  Health-Invest will focus further on this issue.

For more information contact:  E-mail:


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Dutch  Initiative: NanoNed, Technology Assessment of NanoTechnology

Nanotechnology is at an early stage of development, in which promises about new possibilities abound but little definitive can be said about their eventual realization, let alone impacts on society. Thus, there is little scope for traditional technology assessment. On the other hand, new methodologies are being developed (under the label of Constructive Technology Assessment) which address such situations by mapping ongoing dynamics of development and articulating socio-technical scenarios about possible impacts. There is an element of speculation (science fiction combined with social science fiction, one could say), but it is controlled speculation. And it will help nanotechnologists and other relevant actors to reflect on their strategies and choices, making these more socially robust. In NanoNed, there will be three types of technology assessment projects: 1) Development of methodology, building on a recently concluded EU project SocRobust, as well as pilot projects in Constructive TA done by my group at the University of Twente and elsewhere, and drawing on a strong background understanding of co-evolutionary dynamics of development of technology and society. Key items will be so-called expectation dynamics (including promise-requirement cycles) and their quality control, and mapping emergent network and industry structures.  2) Application of the full methodology for a few cases. We are thinking of lab-on-a-chip and applications of nano-fluidics more generally (where concrete applications are becoming visible), and bio-nanotechnology (a variety of possible applications where one can expect social, legal and ethical concerns). 3) Integration of parts of the methodology in ongoing Flagship projects. One possibility is the combination of emerging technological roadmaps and so-called fictive scripts. Mapping emerging networks and industry structures will be useful anyway, especially if there is feedback into strategic choices.

A central role will be played my group at the University of Twente (FWT, which will become part of the new Faculty Business, Governance, and Technology): present senior staff will be involved, as well as a new postdoc and a PhD student. The Group for Innovation Studies at the University of Utrecht (Prof. Ruud Smits) will be strongly involved, hopefully with a new PhD student, and contributions are expected from STB-TNO (Jos Leyten), a small unit on technology assessment at the Technical University Delft (Karel Mulder) and a unit of philosophy of technology at the Technical University Eindhoven (Anthonie Meijers).

International links are in place for technology assessment studies, and for science and technology policy studies more generally. For nanotechnology, there is the interest of the COST Nano-Science and –Technology Advisory Group (NanoSTAG) in considering ethical, legal and social aspects, and the recent Expression of Interest to the 6th Framework Program of the EU for a European Network of Excellence for the Social Impact of Nanotechnologies (ENSIN). We are also in contact with colleagues in USA and Japan who are trying to set up forms of technology assessment of nanotechnology, and will include collaboration and exchange with them in the Dutch effort on technology assessment of nanotechnology.

Participants in NanoNed are:

·         Biomade/MSC+

·         BioNT

·         cNM TU Eindhoven

·         Dimes

·         Fotonicagroep Amsterdam

·         Mesa+

·         NSR/RIM instituut

·         TNO/TPD


Arie Rip (FWT-WMW, University of Twente)


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In the News

Peres to deliver keynote Nanotech address at U.S. conference

When Shimon Peres appears in Washington DC this week to deliver a crucial keynote address, it will not be in any of his current roles as Labor party leader, Nobel peace prize laureate, nor even as a highly-respected elder statesman for Israel. Instead, Mr. Peres will be speaking in his newest role: that of nanotechnologist. That role was taken on last spring with a speech given before the Knesset, during which Peres unequivocally declared Israel's need to be among those nations leading the development and commercialization of this fundamental new technology. Nanotechnology is defined as any fabrication technology in which objects are designed and built by the specification and placement of individual atoms or molecules or where at least one dimension is on a scale of nanometers.The term 'nanotechnology' was coined by K. Eric Drexler in his book Engines of Creation, where he predicted that nanotechnology could give rise to replicating assemblers, permitting an exponential growth of productivity and personal wealth. "I believe it is possible to raise funds for this national scientific project, from governmental, public and industrial sources, thus enabling universities, research institutes and the industrial sector to enter the nanosphere as soon as possible," Peres told the Knesset. Peres' engagement at the World Nano-Economic Congress(being held September 8-10 in Washington DC) is something of an ideal romance. Mr. Peres sought a major international platform from which to launch Israel's nanotechnology initiative. Coincidentally, the organizers of this Congress - perhaps the first of its kind ever held - sought a man of Peres' diplomatic stature in order to draw the attention of other influential leaders, and help to mobilize participants and resources. "Our intention with this Congress is to bring together a critical mass of important stakeholders in nanotechnology," said event director Dexter Johnson, "to talk about its applications in industry, and how it is possible to promote commercialization."  "Mr. Peres is known for his interest in promoting technology in Israel, and will bring the discussion to a much higher, more strategic level," Johnson said. "We aren't just working with directors of research or heads of academia, we now have important government leaders." The featured keynote address by Peres, entitled "Perspectives on Scientific and Technological Leadership", will be followed by those of other notables from government, science and industry, including Nobel chemistry laureate Richard Smalley, Intel research director David Tennenhouse, U.S. congressman and nanotechnology legislator Mike Honda, undersecretary of technology for the Bush administration Phil Bond, and over 50 other speakers. The three-day Congress is expected to draw 400-500 participants.

Peres' keynote address represents only part of the Israeli effort underway to tap into the vast network of U.S. researchers and industrialists involved in 'nanospace'. Like their Israeli counterparts, the Americans are still determining the ways and means to move nanotech out of the laboratories and into practical use. One of the desired outcomes of the conference, according to USISTF interim executive director David Miron-Wapner, is "to develop a strategic plan of action that will increase opportunities for interaction" among Israeli and U.S. interests. "This is the first opportunity we've had to get everyone in the same room," Miron-Wapner noted. Einat Wilf, director of the Israeli Nanotechnology Trust, sees Peres' public appearance and Israel's involvement as "an opportunity for us to learn, to meet top people in the field, and to establish key relationships." Israel's current standing in nanotechnology varies widely, depending on which information you use. From a purely academic perspective, Israel ranks among the very top industrial nations, according to a 2002 study sponsored by the European Commission. That study showed that, on a normalized basis, the number of Israeli nanotech publications and patents ranked second and third in the world, respectively, after countries like Switzerland and Germany. (The U.S. ranks only fourteenth and sixth, respectively.) The study concluded that such high standings indicate a stronger capacity to transfer nanotech research into real-world applications. However, recent industrial surveys by Israel's own Nanotechnology Committee and the European analysis firm Cientifica show that in terms of actual infrastructure and investments in the industrial sector, Israel is failing to stay in the ranks of leading-edge nations. (Those surveys also affirm that the lion's share of industrial infrastructure and investments are being contributed by the U.S. and Japan.) Some key players sense that - as has occurred historically in Israeli high tech - a fruitful synergy can be created in nanotech by combining practical Israeli scientific know-how with U.S. industrial capital and capabilities. As a result, in the last six months, Israeli interests led by Peres, the Nanotechnology Committee, and others, have greatly intensified efforts to kick-start investments and capitalization in Israeli nanotech. Among the more adventurous projects established to address Israel's investment challenge is the Israeli Nanotechnology Trust. This private, non-profit trust was initiated by Peres in order to raise a substantial portion of the projected $300 million that is considered essential over the next five years in order to ensure Israel's continuing participation in the commercialization of nanotechnology. Other upcoming plans include organization of the first annual Israel Nanotechnology Conference in November. This conference is intended to draw together Israeli leaders with North American counterparts in the Jewish community, as well as international leaders in business, science and technology, in order to focus on the challenges facing the Israeli nanotechnology initiative.

By Bob Rosenbaum,  7 September 2003


Bob Rosenbaum is active in Israel and the U.S. as a consultant in strategic marketing and communications. His experience in the nanotech industry dates back to 1988


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Prestigious German prize for UT-scientist

TN-professor and Mesa+ -researcher Niek van Hulst is one of the winners of the prestigious German Körber-Preis. Van Hulst will spend the prize-money of 750,000 euro -to be shared with fellow-nanotechnologists from Groningen, Aachen, and York- on the development of 'light-driven molecular walkers': motors the size of a molecule. The Körber European science award has been granted annually to a team of international scientists since 1985. The prize is not an award for brilliant research results, but is intended to provide financial support for promising and innovative research in the fields of natural science, medicine and technology. The four research groups surrounding the professors Niek van Hulst, Ben Feringa (Groningen), Martin Möller (Aachen), and Justin Molloy (York) wish to unite their knowledge in the field of physics, chemical engineering and biology to develop a miniscule motor that can be controlled, can be switched on and off, can change direction, can move purposefully on a surface and is powered by the energy of light. The research project is described by the Körber award eight-person strong trustee committee, on which amongst others Mesa+ director professor David N. Reinhoudt serves, as 'basic research with a close affinity to practical applications'. The motor to be developed, which is the size of a molecule, can, for example, be used to construct completely new materials, to conduct research inside cells, to dose medication inside the body precisely, and cause controlled chemical reactions between molecules. These miniscule and higly accurate machines and appliances are generally thought to be going to play vital roles in the new industrial revolution that nanotechnology will bring about. Niek van Hulst's team has great experience with different methods to make separate molecules visible and manipulate them with light. The chemist from Groningen, Feringa, is specialised in the synthesis of artificial molecules and the German polymer engineer Möller works on binding molecules to surface structures. The British biologist Molloy investigates 'motor molecules' in the muscle cells of insects that can serve as examples for artificial motors. The size of the molecules with which these scientists work are a factor 100 smaller than the smallest structures on for example a pentium-4-microchip.

The award ceremony will take place on Monday 8 September in Hamburg, the city of which the initiator of the prize, industrialist and philanthropist Kurt Körber (1909-1992), was honorary citizen.

Menno van Duuren transl. Dieneke van Aalst

UT Nieuws, 28 August 2003


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Dishing in the Laboratory

For lovers of Italian food, there can be few finer concoctions than a steaming tray of manicotti -- tubes of pasta stuffed with a seasoned ricotta-egg mixture. In a laboratory at Tel Aviv University in Israel, researchers have been cooking up a kind of manicotti of their own. Instead of pasta tubes, however, they use a peptide molecule -- a short chain of amino acids -- that assembles itself into tiny tubes. And instead of ricotta cheese, they stuff their tubes with silver. What results are nanoscale wires, on the order of 20 billionths of a meter in diameter. The peptide involved is an interesting one. In humans, it forms the

fibrils that kill brain cells in people with Alzheimer's disease. The researchers found that by taking a fragment of the peptide -- the part responsible for shaping it into fibrils -- they could produce much more orderly tubes, most of them about 100 billionths of a meter in diameter and several microns long. The researchers, who describe their work in the current issue of Science, also realized that the tubes were hollow. By putting them in a solution with silver ions, and then reducing the ions to elemental

silver, they produced silver-stuffed nanotubes -- nanomanicotti, you might call it. Then by dissolving the peptide tube with an enzyme, they were left with silver nanowires. Aside from being a neat trick, tiny wires formed in this way may eventually find applications in tiny electronic devices like microsensors.

From: The New York Times,  29 April 2003, Tuesday, Late Edition – Final, Section F; Page 3; Column 1; Science Desk


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Peptide Nanotubes Mould Silver Nanowires

Scientists at Tel Aviv University have used self-assembled peptide nanotubes as a mould for casting silver nanowires. They discovered the self-assembly of the nanotubes while researching the formation of amyloid fibrils from proteins, a key factor in human diseases such as Alzheimer's, type II diabetes and prion diseases. "We decided to study the shortest molecular element that we suspected may be able to mediate the molecular recognition and self-assembly processes - the core-aromatic moiety of the Alzheimer's beta-amyloid," researcher Ehud Gazit told "From a medical point of view, we were able to demonstrate that a peptide as short as a dipeptide - which is the shortest that one can get - contains all of the molecular information needed to mediate events of molecular recognition and self-assembly." The scientists worked on the Alzheimer's β-amyloid diphenylalanine structural motif, and while trying to make the NH2-Phe-Phe-COOH dipeptide soluble at very high concentrations in an organic solvent, they discovered that the material rapidly self-assembled into nanotubes. Adding the nanotubes to boiling ionic silver solution and then reducing the silver with citric acid created silver nanowires inside the tubes. Finally, to remove the peptide mould, the researchers added proteinase K enzyme. This left individual silver nanowires roughly 20 nm in diameter. "The casting of metal nanowires within a degradable bioorganic mould is an example of the strength of the interdisciplinary combination of biological systems - which have properties such as molecular recognition and biodegradability - with the ability to fabricate solid-state inorganic nanostructures," said Gazit. "This is the first time that the casting of discrete and uniform metal nanowires of higher persistence length has been reported. Such nanowires should have ample applications in molecular electronics and other nanotechnological uses." For applications such as nanotube-based biosensors and hollow tubing of nanofluidic circuits, the researchers say it would be desirable to have enzymatically stable nanotubes. For these cases, they cast nanowires in nanotubes formed from the D-amino acid analogue of the peptide, NH2-D-Phe-D-Phe-COOH. These nanotubes were not affected by treatment with proteinase K. Now, Gazit and colleagues plan to use peptide nanotubes to cast other conducting, semiconducting and magnetic materials into nanorods and nanowires, and to integrate the tubes into nanoelectronic, nanophotonic and microelectromechanical systems assemblies. "One of the immediate directions will be to evaluate the potential use of the tubes as field emitters," added Gazit.

The researchers reported their work in Science.

From,  1 May 2003


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Nanotechnology and the 6th framework

For the past several years the European Commission (on behalf of the European Community) has supported a significant portfolio of nanosciences and nanotechnologies-related projects. Already in the 4th Framework Programme (1994 - 1998), some 80 projects involving nanotechnology were funded. In the 5th Framework Programme, (1998 - 2002) the estimated funding level rose to about 45 M€/year. The overall project portfolio is very wide in scope, encompassing for example nano-electronic devices, giant magneto-resistance, carbon nano-tubes, bio-sensors, molecular diagnostics, nano-composite materials and atomic force microscopes. In the case of the current 6th Framework Programme (2003 - 2006), nanosciences and nanotechnologies are a priority. The role played by the Union's initiatives is of paramount importance with respect to the total public funding for nanotechnology activities in Europe. In broad terms, we can estimate the grand total for the European investment in nano-research being now of the order of almost 700M € per year. Nanotechnologies are something of a Holy Grail for many of today's research project teams, whether they are working on inanimate matter or living organisms. Manipulating arrangements between atoms to form nanosystems – with unique physical, chemical and biological properties – opens the door to applications which mark the beginning of a truly innovative technological era.

A critical need for a European dimension: The hopes raised by nanotechnologies require a vast fundamental and applied research effort if they are to be realised. Multidisciplinary studies must also be carried out by a wide range of specialists. Only a proactive European approach will enable the EU to acquire an autonomous command of the opportunities created by this third industrial revolution which we will surely witness over the next two to three decades.

OBJECTIVES: • To help provide Europe with the critical mass of capacities to develop and exploit those high technologies at the basis of the products, services and production processes of the future, which are essentially knowledge based. • To develop intelligent materials for applications in sectors such as transport, energy, electronics and biomedicine representing a potential market of several billion euro. • To develop flexible, integrated and clean systems requiring a substantial research effort in the application of new production and management technologies.

SUPPORT FOR RESEARCH: Community action will concentrate on three major fields:

·       Nanotechnologies and nanosciences

-    Long-term interdisciplinary research: understanding phenomena, command of processes and the development of research tools

-    Supramolecular and macromolecular architecture

-    Nanobiotechnologies

-    Nanometric-scale engineering techniques for creating materials and components

-    Development of manipulation and control devices and instruments

-    Applications in fields such as health, chemicals, energy and the environment.

·       Knowledge-based multifunctional materials

-    Development of fundamental knowledge

-    Technologies associated with the production and transformation of knowledge-based multifunctional materials and Biomaterials

-    Support engineering

·       Production processes and methods

-    Flexible and intelligent production processes and systems using advances in virtual production technologies, Decision-aiding interactive systems, high-precision engineering and innovative robotics

-    Systemic research (including on biological processes) for sustainable waste management, risk control, reduced Consumption of basic products and less pollution

-    Concepts for life cycle optimisation of industrial systems, products and services, in particular with a view to eco-Efficiency and reduced emission of substances which are harmful to the environment.


BUDGET:  € 1 300 million

For more information see:


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Given Imaging to launch new diagnostic capsule in November  

A simple prep-less, non-invasive procedure, the M2A Patency System is designed to help doctors diagnose the presence of obstructing strictures and adhesions in the gastrointestinal tract. Yoram Ashery, the company's vice-president of business development, said yesterday that the new capsule dissolves in two to three days if not excreted. Its failure to pass through the digestive system in that time indicates a bowel blockage. At first, Given Imaging will be launching the capsule in Europe, Ashery said, but the company expects U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for marketing in that country to be

forthcoming during 2004.  Specifically, the Patency System (patency as in "patently obvious") consists of an ingestible,

dissolvable capsule that is the same size as the M2A Capsule Endoscope, which is 26 millimeters long, and 11 millimeters in

diameter. The capsule comes equipped with a tiny Radio Frequency ID tag. The doctor uses a hand-held scanner to receive the signal from the RFID tag. Additionally, the capsule contains barium. If the patient fails to excrete it, the doctor can find it within the body using the hand-held scanner. He or she can then determine the exact location of the obstruction using fluoroscopy. "The launch of the Patency Capsule is consistent with our mission of being the global leader in providing patient-friendly solutions for the gastrointestinal community," said Gavriel Meron, president and CEO of Given Imaging. "The Patency System, along with the M2A Capsule Endoscope, further enhances the gastroenterologist's ability to treat small bowel disorders by allowing, in most cases, the completion of a full workup in the GI clinic." Given Imaging's patency system has received the CE-Mark, which allows it to be marketed throughout the European Union. Results from studies conducted at five European sites will be presented at the coming meeting in Madrid.

By Eli Daniel


Given Imaging (Nasdaq:GIVN) will launch its M2A Patency System in November, the Yokne'am-based company announced yesterday. Given Imaging said its newest video-in-a-capsule will be unveiled at the 11th United European Gastrointestinal Week (UEGW) Conference, taking place in Madrid from November 1 to 5.


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EOI's for the Sixth Framework

Tel Aviv university has published the EOI's for the Sixth Framework on the web, and invites interested partners from the Netherlands (academy and industry) to join the consortia being formed. Contact can be made directly with the coordinator of each group or with the EU liason Office at the address on the web site: EOI's for the Sixth Framework


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Project information

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