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IP Roundup: Oct 19, 2010


BioScale of Cambridge, Mass., has received US Patent No. 7,814,652, "Method of making through-hole vias in a substrate." The patent claims a system for assembling resonant sensors. The system includes a sensor module where a sensor is formed on a conductive substrate with a cavity formed on one surface. According to the patent, the substrate has conductive vias extending from the cavity to a second surface of the substrate. A ceramic-made housing assembly accommodates the sensor, and an electronic component, such as an amplifier, is mounted on the housing. The electronic component electrically engages the vias at the second surface of the substrate, and the electronic component receives signals from the sensor through the vias, the patent's abstract states. The signals are then processed through an amplifier and a digital signal processor using a modified periodogram.

Fluidigm of South San Francisco, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,815,868, "Microfluidic reaction apparatus for high throughput screening." The patent describes a microfluidic device formatted in compliance with standards set by the Society for Biomolecular Screening. According to the patent, the device includes a plate with an upper surface and a lower surface, where the geometry of the plate defines an array of interrogation areas, where each interrogation area encompasses reaction sites. The device also includes an elastomeric microfluidic device that includes a network of microfluidic flow channels in fluid communication with the array of reaction sites. The network of microfluidic flow channels includes a set of reagent input channels and a set of sample input channels. For each reaction site, the network also includes a slug channel in communication with the reaction chamber, one of the reagent input channels, and one of the sample input channels. According to the patent, a first control valve is positioned to open and close the slug channel at both its interface with the reaction chamber and its interface with the sample input channel; and a second control valve is positioned to open and close the slug channel at its interface with the reagent input channel.

Becton Dickinson has received US Patent No. 7,815,922, "Articles having bioactive surfaces and solvent-free methods of preparation thereof." The patent claims methods for preparing articles that have a bioactive surface. It includes treating a substrate to form free reactive groups, depositing a monomer onto the treated substrate, and covalently immobilizing a biologically functional molecule onto the deposited monomer. Methods for the deposition of the monomer onto the treated substrate in a solvent-free environment are also described. According to the patent, the substrates may include glass, metal, plastic ceramic or hydrogel. In one embodiment, the monomer that is deposited on the substrate is aminopropyltrimethoxysilane, and the biologically functional molecule is hyaluronic acid.

The University of Arizona of Tucson, Ariz., and the Translational Genomics Institute of Phoenix have received US Patent No. 7,816,082, "Methods of identifying pancreatic cancer cells." The patent claims methods that identify cells as pancreatic cancer cells based on assessing the expression of combinations of target molecules expressed preferentially on pancreatic cancer cells. More specifically, the claimed methods include measuring the expression of three or more specific target molecules in combination and correlating positive expression of the combination with an identification of the cell as a pancreatic cancer cell. According to the patent, combinations were initially discovered by microarray analysis and selected based upon tumor specificity, relative lack of cross-reactivity with normal tissues, and applicability as targets of multispecific ligands.

Corning of Corning, NY, has received US Patent No. 7,816,096, "Assay solution compositions and methods for GPCR arrays." The patent claims buffered assay solutions for performing binding or functional assays on G protein-coupled receptor arrays. According to the patent, the buffered assay solution includes a buffer reagent with a pH in the range of about 6.5 to about 7.9; an inorganic salt of either a monovalent or divalent species; and optionally a combination of a blocker reagent or a protease-inhibitor.

Signature Genomics of Spokane, Wash., has received US Patent No. 7,816,123, "Methods and apparatuses for achieving precision genetic diagnoses." The patent describes methods for selecting and arranging clinically relevant chromosomal loci that allow a diagnostic array to simultaneously test for numerous genetic alterations that occur in many different parts of the human genome. During this process, clinically irrelevant or ineffective loci are eliminated. According to the patent, the method increases the reliability and accuracy of testing by dividing the base-pair sequence of each chromosomal locus into segments and then assigning nucleic acid clones for comparative genomic hybridization to each different segment. The segments may overlap for increased resolution and control. Additionally, clones representing segments that are adjacent on a native chromosome are placed in non-adjacent target areas of the array to avoid interfering hybridization reactions, the patent states. Arrangement motifs within an array may be redundantly repeated for high availability and increased reliability and accuracy of results. Techniques, hardware, software, logic engines, loci collections, and diagnostic arrays are also described.

Agilent Technologies has received US Patent No. 7,818,129, "Detection of feature boundary pixels during array scanning." The patent claims a computer-implemented method of determining whether a pixel signal produced during scanning of a chemical array is a feature boundary pixel signal. According to the patent, the pixel signal is produced by a chemical array scanner by evaluating change in amplitude within a signal for a single pixel; indicating the pixel as a feature boundary pixel if the signal has a significant change in amplitude; integrating the signal to produce data; and storing the data on a permanent memory of a computer implementing the method.

Affymetrix has received US Patent No. 7,818,281, "Computer software for visualizing recombination events in a group of individuals from recombination breakpoints and assignments in high density SNP genotyping data by generating a color-coded view for each individual chromosome and a whole genome view for the group." According to this patent, a computer system for visualizing recombination events in a group of individuals is provided and high-density SNP genotype data is obtained from related individuals in a family. A pedigree is subsequently created where haplotypes are reconstructed and likely recombination breakpoints are identified with the use of publicly available computer programs. A software tool is then used to visualize the recombination events in the family.

The Scan

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

US Survey Data Suggests Ancestry Testing Leads Way in Awareness, Use of Genetic Testing Awareness

Although roughly three-quarters of surveyed individuals in a Genetics in Medicine study reported awareness of genetic testing, use of such tests was lower and varied with income, ancestry, and disease history.

Coral Genome Leads to Alternative Amino Acid Pathway Found in Other Non-Model Animals

An alternative cysteine biosynthesis pathway unearthed in the Acropora loripes genome subsequently turned up in sequences from non-mammalian, -nematode, or -arthropod animals, researchers report in Science Advances.

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.