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EOS Biotechnology, Cepheid, Rosetta Inpharmatics, Agilent Technologies, Silicon Valley Bank, Incyte


EOS Biotechnology, of South San Francisco, Calif., has received US Patent Number 6,316,272, “Methods of diagnosis of colorectal cancer and methods of screening for colorectal cancer modulators.” The patent describes molecular targets for colorectal cancer diagnosis and treatment, methods for finding these targets using microarrays, as well as microarray-based methods that can be used for diagnostic and prognostic purposes.

The microarray, (which is referred to in the patent as a biochip) consists of fewer than 1,000 nucleic acid probes that include specified sequences whose expression correlates with colorectal cancer

Cepheid, of Sunnyvale, Calif., has received US Patent Number 6,312, 929, which covers methods and compositions for validating the integrity of reagents used for PCR-based DNA detection. The validation technology is designed to be used with Cepheid’s forthcoming Gene Xpert automated DNA detection system. The system automates the sample preparation, amplification, and detection phases of the process.


Rosetta Inpharmatics (now part of Merck) has been awarded US Patent Number 6,324,479, “Methods of determining protein activity levels using gene expression profiles.” The invention uses as a measuring stick for the level of protein activity in a cell the abundance of cellular constituents, including DNA or proteins, in a cell. The abundance level is either measured to obtain a diagnostic profile, or the cell is manipulated to create perturbations in the activity of the protein, and then cellular constituents are measured to obtain a response profiles and response curves. These two measurements are then compared to determine the protein activity level at which the response profile best fits the diagnostic profile.


Agilent Technologies received US Patent Number 6,323,043, “Fabricating biopolymer arrays.” The patent describes a method for fabricating arrays using a dispensing head and a fluid made of biopolymers or biomonomers. (This is basically the inkjet method that Agilent uses for spotting its arrays.) The dispensing head includes a reservoir chamber as well as a jet for depositing droplets onto the array substrate, and includes a capillary delivery chamber as well as an ejector that causes the droplet to be released onto the substrate.


Silicon Valley Bank has received US Patent Number 6,319,469, “Devices and methods for using centripetal acceleration to drive fluid movement in a microfluidics system.” The invention described in the patent consists of a platform and a device for rotating the platform to move the fluid through the microchannels on the device using centripetal force. On the surface opposite this microchannel surface, the invention provides for the encoding of system informatics, data acquisition, analysis and storage and retrieval informatics.


Incyte has received US Patent Number 6,316,608, “Combined polynucleotide sequence as discrete assay endpoints.” The patent stipulates various methods to determine the relative amounts of different polynucleotides in a mixture of polynucleotides. In the methods, the polynucleotides are fluorescently labeled, and then are hybridized to an array that is spotted with probes that consist of complementary polynucleotides. The level of fluorescence associated with each hybridized spot serves as a measurement of the amount of that polynucleotide in the mixture relative to the other elements.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.