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University of Alabama, Affymetrix, Stephen Zweig, SRU Biosystems, University of Rochester

The University of Alabama of Huntsville, Ala., has received US Patent No. 7,291,459, “Nucleic acid detector and method of detecting targets within a sample.” The patent claims a nucleic acid detector and a method of using it to detect the presence of target nucleic acid sequences within a sample. According to the patent, the nucleic acid detector includes a substrate-bound, hairpin-shaped nucleic acid captor in conjunction with a labeled universal nucleic acid detector probe. The captor has a segment that is complementary to at least a portion of the target nucleic acid and is denatured and hybridized to the target under test conditions. Hybridization of the captor to the target maintains the captor in an open conformation, which exposes an end portion of the captor to the universal detector probe. The detector probe is therefore able to hybridize with the exposed end portion of the captor if the captor has hybridized with a target. The labeled detector probe is detectable by external detection methods and detector probes having identical universal detector probe sequences may be used to identify the presence of multiple targets having various target sequences within a sample. An assay embodying the detector and method is also discussed.

Affymetrix has received US Patent No. 7,291,463, “Nucleic acid labeling compounds.” The patent describes heterocyclic derivatives containing a detectable moiety and methods of attaching the heterocyclic derivatives to a nucleic acid. The attachment of the compounds to the nucleic acid substantially maintains its ability to bind to a complementary nucleic acid sequence.

Stephen Zweig of Los Gatos, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,291,698, “Synthetic substrate for high specificity enzymatic assays.” The patent describes synthetic enzyme substrates, enhanced to have improved enzymatic specificity. The synthetic enzyme substrates consist of a substrate peptide that has had its specificity further improved by additional synthetic moieties, selected by combinatorial chemistry techniques that act to block non-target enzymes. The "steric restrictor" moieties may also be labeled to produce a detectable signal upon enzymatic reaction. The described substrates are useful for improved enzyme substrate microarrays and specific applications for improved protease-substrate microarrays are discussed in the patent.

SRU Biosystems of Woburn, Mass., has received US Patent No. 7,292,336, “Method and instrument for detecting biomolecular interactions.” The patent claims an instrument system for detecting a biochemical interaction on a biosensor. The system includes an array of detection locations and a light source for generating collimated white light. According to the patent’s abstract, the beam splitter directs the collimated white light towards the surface of the sensor corresponding to the detector locations. A detection system including an imaging spectrometer then receives the reflected light and generates an image of the reflected light.


The University of Rochester has received US Patent No. 7,292,349, “Method for biomolecular sensing and system thereof.” The patent claims a sensing system and method for biomolecular sensing. The system includes: a) a receptor for at least one target that includes a substrate covered with two-sided transparent coating; b) a light source positioned to direct light from the light source toward the coating on the receptor; and c) a detector positioned to capture the light reflected from the front and back surfaces of the coating. The detector can then identify the presence of at least one target based on a change in the interference pattern of captured light, according to the patent’s abstract.

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