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Ebara Corp., University of Michigan, Zyomyx, BioForce


Ebara Corp. of Tokyo has received US Patent No. 6,897,021, "Reactive probe chip, composite substrate and method for fabrication of the same." The patent describes a reaction probe chip that is prepared by loading a reactive probe on fine pieces of carrier such as particles, tile-like plates and then arraying and immobilizing the reactive probe-loaded carrier on a base material. The carrier fine pieces such as particles, tile-like plates, and the like, are porous or have a reactive surface, and the base material is preferably a thin inorganic plate or a thin organic plate is disclosed, the patent states. The inorganic base material is preferably a glass slide or silicon wafer, and the organic base material is preferably a polyester film or polyethylene film. In case the porous carrier pieces are used, the reactivity of the inner surfaces of the porous carrier pores should be maintained during the array or immobilization process of the reactive probe-loaded carrier. A composite substrate characterized by having a section of the surface where a plurality of porous regions are orderly arranged as compartments by non-porous regions, or a plurality of non-porous regions are orderly arranged as compartments by porous regions is also described by the patent. The porous solid is preferably porous glass or porous ceramic.

The Regents of the University of Michigan of Ann Arbor, Mich., have received US Patent No. 6,897,067, "Surface transfection and expression procedure." The patent describes a novel transfection method called STEP (Surface Transfection and Expression Procedure) in which nucleic acids are spatially restricted before and at the initiation of transfection. Therefore, the invention provides a method in which cells are plated directly onto immobilized nucleic acids and transfected by the immobilized nucleic acids. The nucleic acids are immobilized on a surface on which the cells can be grown, and are restricted to the original area of immobilization under normal cell culture conditions, under the terms described in the patent. In some aspects of the invention, the spatial arrangement of the nucleic acids is an ordered microarray. In other embodiments, the array is a random array.

Another aspect of the patent provides expression of the transfected nucleic acid and the effects of transfected nucleic acids are easily measured by using appropriate fluorescent reporter constructs in the transfected cells, and detecting the fluorescence with commercially available scanners. The nucleic acids include ESTs, PCR products, genomic DNA, cDNA, RNA, oligonucleotides and antisense constructs; such nucleic acids may be present within expression vectors.

Zyomyx of Hayward, Calif., has received US Patent No. 6,897,073, "Non-specific binding resistant protein arrays and methods for making the same." The patented invention is used to satisfy the need to assay in parallel a multitude of proteins expressed by a cell or population of cells in an organism, including up to the total protein content of a cell.

The invention provides an array of protein-capture agents comprising: a substrate; at least one organic thin film covering some or all of the surface of the substrate; and a plurality of patches arranged in discrete, known regions on the portions of the substrate surface covered by organic thin film. Furthermore, the array comprises a plurality of different protein-capture agents, each of which is capable of binding a different expression product, or fragment thereof, of the cell or population of cells in the organism.

The invention also provides an array of bound proteins which comprises both the array of protein-capture agents of the invention and a plurality of different proteins that are expression products, or fragments, of a cell or population of cells in an organism, where each of the different proteins is bound to a protein-capture agent on a separate patch of the array.

Methods of using the arrays of protein-capture agents of the invention are also provided in the patent, including a method of assaying in parallel for a plurality of different proteins in a sample that are expression products, or fragments, of a cell or a population of cells in an organism. The final step of the method describes a way of detecting for the presence or amount of protein bound to each patch of the array.

BioForce Nanosciences of Ames, Iowa, has received US Patent No. 6,897,015, "Device and method of use for detection and characterization of pathogens and biological materials." The patented invention includes a method and apparatus for the detection of a target material. The method and apparatus includes a substrate with a surface and forming domains of deposited materials on it. The deposited material can be placed on the surface and bound directly and non-specifically to the surface, or it may be specifically or non-specifically bound to the surface. The deposited material has an affinity for a specific target material. The domains created are termed affinity domains or deposition domains, according to the patent. Multiple affinity domains of deposited materials can be deposited on a single surface, creating a plurality of specific binding affinity domains for a plurality of target materials. Target materials may include, for example, pathogens or pathogenic markers such as viruses, bacteria, bacterial spores, parasites, prions, fungi, mold, or pollen spores. The patented device created is incubated with a test solution, gas, or other supporting environment suspected of containing one or more of the target materials. Specific binding interactions between the target materials and a particular affinity domain will then occur and will be detected by various methods.

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