Up for Grabs: Now-defunct Genometrix has received US Patent Number 6,331,441, "Multiplexed molecular analysis apparatus and method," for its microarray technology. The patent covers a method for analyzing samples that include mixtures of analytes on a single array with multiple test sites. It also provides for a process to analyze the test sites in parallel. Genometrix, of the Woodlands, Texas, provided genotyping services using its custom microarray platform and its analysis and visualization tools. The company closed its doors at the end of June after running out of cash.
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation of Cleveland, has been awarded US Patent Number 6,331,396, "Arrays for identifying agents which mimic or inhibit the activity of interferons." The patent covers a model array with between 100 and 5,000 gene probes that are used to identify proteins that mimic or block interferon activity in cells. In the method described, a selected interferon or combination of interferons is added to cultured cells, then a candidate therapeutic is added to the cells, and the genetic material is extracted from the cells and hybridized to the array. The probes on the array are selected to hybridize to interferon repressed genes, so the hybridizations can detect whether the candidate therapeutic has had an effect on interferon levels.
Nanogen of San Diego., has received US Patent Number 6,331,274, "Advanced active circuits and devices for molecular biological analysis and diagnostics." The patent, one of over 25 that the company has been awarded to protect its NanoChip electrode-based hybridization system, refers to the array of electrode cells, each of which includes an element that controls a variable current, a switch, and a return electrode. The switch and the return electrode both contact a solution that can include charged biological materials, and a current is established between them in the presence of these materials, indicating that they are present in a sample. The control element can receive signals from two lines, one that runs along a horizontal axis and the other that runs vertically. This control element can be used to provide variable current between two electrodes.