Tokyo technology giant Hitachi has been awarded US Patent Number 6,346,383, “Advanced thermal gradient DNA chip (ATGC) the substrate for ATGC, method for manufacturing for ATGC method and apparatus for biochemical reaction and storage medium.” This patent describes a biochip that can control the temperature of the biological reactions that occur on it, including the substrate temperature and the hybridization temperature. The chip, designed for biochemical reaction detection, has islands of heat conducting material spaced along the membrane of the substrate. Each heat island includes its own temperature controlling mechanism. Molecular probes are immobilized on this substrate.
Hitachi is involved in several biochip efforts. Last June, Hitachi joined eight other corporations, including Canon and Seiko instruments, in a Japanese government-led three-year collaborative effort to develop a low-cost diagnostic chip.
Xanthon of Research Triangle Park, NC, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have received US Patent Number 6,346,387, “Detection of binding reactions using label detected by mediated catalytic electrochemistry.” The patent covers a method for detecting proteins and protein-fragments as well as ligands, steroids, hormones, drugs, immunoglobulin and receptors. The method involves labels that react with a metal mediator complex in a catalytic redox reaction. The labels are attached to the target molecules and to binders, or to binders or intermediate affinity ligands. Either the labels are part of the organic chemical structure of the ligand, binder, or affinity ligand; or they can be covalently attached to the binder, target, affinity ligand, or to a surrogate target.
Xanthon and UNC, along with Duke, have recently received a research grant from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center to develop ultradense oligonucleotide arrays. The research is being directed by Michael Pirrung, a chemistry professor at Duke, and Holden Thorp, a chemistry professor at UNC Chapel Hill, who have been developing electrochemical detection methods for arrays that could enable the arrays to include up to 10 million electrodes per square centimeter. Xanthon plans to refine and commercialize these arrays.