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Patent Watch: Mar 1, 2002


BioDiscovery of Marina del Ray, Calif., has been awarded US Patent Number 6,349,144, “Automated DNA Array Segmentation and Analysis.” The patent covers image processing methods for microarray image analysis — a key feature of the company’s ImaGene software.

“This patent is based on pioneering work in the application of novel image processing methods for improving and solving the unique issues present in microarray images,” Soheil Shams, CEO of BioDiscovery, stated.


Illumina of San Diego has non-exclusively licensed five patents from Amersham Biosciences, all of which cover confocal scanning methods and designs. Confocal scanning is a high-resolution, high-sensitivity method that can be applied to imaging of microarrays. Illumina plans to use confocal scanning in its BeadArray product line, in which beads are imaged at high densities, with five-micron core-to-core widths between them.


Rosetta Inpharmatics, a Kirkland, Wash., subsidiary of Merck, has received US Patent Number 6,351,712, “Statistical combining of cell expression profiles.” The patent essentially describes dye swapping, a method for removing bias caused by fluorophores in which the two fluorophores used in microarray experiment pairs are reversed. It further details a method for calculating the errors associated with each measurement; provides a means for coupling this error with rank-based methods to derive the probability that a cellular constituent is up- ¯or down-regulated relative to a control; and outlines a method for determining confidence in the weighted average of expression level across repeated experiments.


Genemaster Lifescience Co. of Chungho, Taiwan, has received US Patent Number 6,350,620, “Method for producing micro-carrier and test method by using said micro-carrier.” This patent covers a method for imprinting a barcode on a substrate coated with photoresist to electroform a nickel plate, then stamping this bar code on a bead squashed between two nickel plates. This “microcake” is then added to a biomolecule. Unknown biomolecules can be identified by mixing the microcarriers with unknown biomolecules and imaging the mixtures.

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.