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Agilent Technologies, Lexicon Genetics, The California Institute of Technology, University of Illinois, Hitachi Software Engineering

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Agilent Technologies of Palo Alto, Calif., received US Patent No. 6,768,820, “Method and system for extracting data from surface array deposited features.” The patent covers a method for evaluating an orientation of a molecular array having features arranged in a pattern. An image of the molecular array is obtained by scanning the molecular array to determine data signals emanating from discrete positions on a surface of the molecular array. An actual result of a function on pixels of the image, in which pixels lie in a second pattern, is calculated. This actual result is compared with an expected result, which would be obtained if the second pattern had a predetermined orientation on the array. Array orientation can then be evaluated based on the result.


Lexicon Genetics of The Woodlands, Tex., has received US Patent No. 6,767,736, “Human ion channel protein and polynucleotides encoding the same.” The patent covers novel human polynucleotide and polypeptide sequences that can be used in therapeutic, diagnostic, and pharmacogenomic applications.


The California Institute of Technology, based in Pasadena, Calif., has received US Patent No. 6,767,706, “Integrated active flux microfluidic devices and methods.” The patent covers a microfabricated device for the rapid detection of DNA, proteins, or other molecules associated with a particular disease. The devices and methods of the invention can be used for the simultaneous diagnosis of multiple diseases by detecting molecules, such as polynucleotides, or proteins, by measuring the signal of a detectable reporter associated with hybridized polynucleotides or antigen/antibody complex. In the microfabricated device, detection of the presence of molecules is correlated to a hybridization signal from an optically-detectable reporter associated with the bound molecules. These hybridization signals can be detected by any suitable means, for example optical, and can be stored, for example, in a computer as a representation of the presence of a particular gene. Hybridization probes can be immobilized on a substrate that forms part of or is exposed to a channel or channels of the device that form a closed loop, for circulation of sample to actively contact complementary probes. Universal chips according to the invention can be fabricated not only with DNA but also with other molecules such as RNA, proteins, peptide nucleic acid, and polyamide molecules.


The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois, has been assigned US Patent No. 6,767,705, “Reagents and methods for identifying and modulating expression of genes regulated by retinoids.” The patent covers growth-inhibitory genes induced by retinoids. The invention provides reagents and methods for identifying compounds other than retinoids that induce expression of these cellular genes. The invention also provides reagents that are recombinant mammalian cells containing recombinant expression constructs that express a reporter gene under the transcriptional control of a promoter for a gene that is regulated by retinoids, and methods for using such cells to identify compounds other than retinoids that modulate expression of these cellular genes.


Hitachi Software Engineering of Kanagawa, Japan, has received US Patent No. 6,767,748, “Spotting pin, spotting device and method for spotting biomolecules.” The patent covers an invention that enables the accurate management of the total number of spotting counts for each spotting pin. An IC chip is installed on the spotting pin to allow the IC chip to accumulate spotting-count information, and during each spotting time the information is loaded up and displayed.

The Scan

Gap in COVAX Doses

BBC News reports that COVAX is experiencing a vaccine shortfall, as the Serum Institute of India has paused exports.

Sanofi, GSK Report Promising Results

The Wall Street Journal reports that the candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine from Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline has had encouraging early results.

Influence of Luck

The New York Times examines how the US avoided variant-fueled increases in COVID-19 cases.

PLOS Papers on Retina GWAS, Hantaan Virus, COVID-19 Phenome-Wide Association Study

In PLOS this week: genome-wide association study of retinal morphology, analysis of hantaan virus found in a mouse, and more.