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Protogene, Signature Bioscience, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Lynx


Protogene of Menlo Park, Calif., has received US Patent Number 6,337,393, “Method and composition for chemical synthesis on an open environment support surface using high boiling point organic solvents to control evaporation.” The method includes an open solid support with at least one binding site, to which a reactive chemical moiety is attached. A minute volume of liquid reagent solution is deposited onto the surface, and makes contact with the binding site. The reagent solution includes at least one relatively high boiling point solvent in order to reduce evaporation of the reagent solution on the open support.


Signature Bioscience of Hayward, Calif., has received US Patent Number 6,338,968, “Method and apparatus for detecting molecular binding events.” The method and system involve the use of molecular structures with dielectric properties. Along the surface of a signal path, a molecular binding region is coupled. When a test signal is moved along the path, the signal couples to the binding region and exhibits a response.


Alexion Pharmaceuticals has received US Patent Number 6,338,820, “Apparatus for performing assays at reaction sites.” The apparatus covered in the patent includes a substrate made of numerous layers of semiconductor material that can be rotated around its axis (a round disc), and has reaction sites that radiate out from this axis. The apparatus also includes a stepper motor that rotates the substrate by adjusting the rotation direction and the speed of rotation. For fluid deposition, there is a function head with a fluid dispenser outlet and a readout device with a sensor that receives identifying signals from the reaction site, or scans the site to read it. A computer can be used to align the apparatus at a start location for the dispenser outlet, and to provide movement signals to the motors in order to read identifying marks at the reaction site.


Lynx, the bead array company from Hayward, Calif., has filed eight patent applications resulting from its internal discovery research activities. Four of the applications cover gene targets and DNA markers that are potentially related to arthrosclerosis and breast cancer. The other four cover data analysis methods for Lynx’s Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing (MPSS) technology, and applications of this technology to identify genes associated with complex genetic traits.

MPSS consists of tags that are labeled and attached to the ends of DNA fragments in the sample to be studied. Complementary anti-tags are added to millions of microbeads, and the tagged fragments hybridize to their complementary anti-tags. Then these beads are flowed into a flow cell, where sequencing reagents are added. The technology enables users to identify genes present in a sample without prior knowledge of the sequence. In addition to marketing this technology, Lynx has adapted it for genetics research in-house. “We believe that the novel methods we have developed that combine MPSS technology with genetics have proven to be powerful ways for rapidly identifying sets of candidate genes that control complex traits,” stated Ben Bowen, Lynx’s vice president, discovery research.

The Scan

Genetic Tests Lead to Potential Prognostic Variants in Dutch Children With Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Researchers in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine found that the presence of pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants was linked to increased risk of death and poorer outcomes in children with pediatric dilated cardiomyopathy.

Fragile X Syndrome Mutations Found With Comprehensive Testing Method

Researchers in Clinical Chemistry found fragile X syndrome expansions and other FMR1 mutations with ties to the intellectual disability condition using a long-range PCR and long-read sequencing approach.

Team Presents Strategy for Speedy Species Detection in Metagenomic Sequence Data

A computational approach presented in PLOS Computational Biology produced fewer false-positive species identifications in simulated and authentic metagenomic sequences.

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.