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Althea Technologies, Applied Gene Technologies, BioMicro Systems, University of Chicago


Althea Technologies of San Diego said last week it has been granted a US patent covering its “eXpress” PCR-based gene expression profiling technology. The patent, No. 6,618,679, is entitled “Methods for Analysis of Gene Expression,” and was granted Sept. 9. It covers methods and kits to enable gene expression profiling, as well as collection of gene expression data and relational data analysis. The methods, according to the patent, “are highly sensitive; have a wide dynamic range; are rapid and inexpensive; have a high throughput; and allow the simultaneous differential analysis of a defined set of genes.” The eXpress technology uses RTPCR to monitor tens to hundreds of genes at a time, the company said, and can be used with as little as several nanograms of total RNA and off-the shelf reagents.

Applied Gene Technologies of San Diego received US Patent No. 6,620,586, “Methods and compositions for analyzing nucleic acids.” The method is useful in analyzing more than one target by hybridization to a single probe immobilized as a single point, the inventors said. Such analysis is also possible in solution. Multiple analytes can be analyzed by mass spectrometric, chromatographic or capillary electrophoresis detection of nucleic acid hybrids following photochemical labeling of the target nucleic acids.

BioMicro Systems of Salt Lake City, Utah, last week announced the issuance of two patents on its microfluidic control technology. US Patent 6,591,852, which issued on July 15, and US Patent 6,601,613, which issued Aug. 5, both entitled “Fluid circuit components based upon passive fluid dynamics.”


The patents broaden coverage of the passive fluid-control technology protected by US Patent No. 6,296,020, which issued Oct. 2, 2001.The ‘020 patent claims fluid circuit structures incorporating passive valves that utilize capillary forces to direct fluid movement, and methods of their use. The ‘613 patent covers a broader range of fluid circuit structures incorporating passive valving, while the ‘852 patent extends coverage to a broader range of passive valve structures, including burst valves. The newly patented technology will be used to expand fluid handling and sample preparation in the company’s MAUI microarray hybridization system, the company said.

The University of Chicago received US Patent No. 6,620,623, “Biochip reader with enhanced illumination and bioarray positioning apparatus.” The patent covers a biochip reader that uses optical fibers to illuminate a glass substrate and improve signal-to-noise ratios.


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