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Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Signature Biosciences


Millennium Pharmaceuticals has received US Patent Number 6,342,351 “Methods and compositions for diagnosing and treating chromosome-18p related disorders.” The patent covers methods for diagnosis, genetic testing, and prognosis of bipolar affective disorder (manic depression). According to the invention, testing for the HKNG1 gene can be used as a diagnostic marker for bipolar affective disorder, as well as schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and unipolar affective disorders. A preferred method for detecting the HKNG1 gene involves a microarray containing nucleic acid probes for this gene.


Signature Biosciences of Hayward, Calif. was awarded US Patent Number 6,340,568, “Method for detecting and classifying nucleic acid hybridization.” The patent covers methods in which a detection system can sense the dielectric properties of hybridization complexes, and can use these properties as a measurement for distinguishing between different complexes. This system, an alternative to the use of fluorescent labels, can be used in expression analysis, sequencing, sequence verification, and other forms of nucleic acid analysis.

This patent award follows closely behind Signature’s receipt of US Patent Number 6,338,968, “Method and apparatus for detecting molecular binding events.” This previous patent also uses molecular structures with bielectric properties. It describes binding sites in which a test signal reacts with a probe.

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