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The University of Chicago, Chromagen, Gyros of Uppsala, GPC Biotech, Agilent Technologies, Boston Probes, Randox Laboratories


The University of Chicago received US Patent No. 6,656,725, “Method of fabrication of microarray of gel-immobilized compounds on a chip by copolymerization.” The patent covers a system for making polymerized molecules by contacting a solution-containing monomer to a solid substrate to form discrete accumulations, which are contacted with a polymerizing agent to prevent cross contamination. The process includes the creation of porous entities, each capable of containing a different molecule, and each capable of being positioned differentially.

Chromagen of San Diego received US Patent No. 6,654,119, “Scanning spectrophotometer for high-throughput fluroescence detection.” The patent covers a fluorescence spectrophotometer with an excitation double monochromator, a coaxial excitation/emission light transfer module, and an emission double monochromator that includes a pair of holographic concave gratings mounted to precisely select a desired band of wavelengths from incoming broadband light without using other optical elements, such as mirrors. Selected excitation light is directed into a sample well by a light transfer module that includes a mirror positioned to direct light to the bottom of a multi-well plate. Emitted fluorescence light is collected by a coaxial emission mirror. The collected emission light is wavelength selected by the emission double monochromator. Selected emission light is detected by a photodetector module.

Gyros of Uppsala, Sweden, received US Patent No. 6,653,625, “Microfluidic system (MS).” The patent covers method for presenting an analyte of a liquid sample as a microfluidic system-analyte to a mass spectrometer. More particularly, the method comprises the steps of applying a liquid sample containing the analyte to a sample inlet port of a microchannel structure of a microfluidic device, said structure also comprising an outlet port that is capable of being interfaced with a mass spectrometer, passing the analyte to the port, thereby transforming it to an analyte, and presenting the analyte to a mass spectrometer via the port.

GPC Biotech of Munich, Germany, received US Patent No. 6,658,324, “Pick and place robot system.” A plant is provided for rapid pick-and-place operations, enabling automated systems that return to at least one approximately fixed position to run faster than the rate of conventional systems. The plant utilizes a combination of robotic design, linear motor technology, and control software. A system is provided for the rapid production of high-density arrays of biologically active substances.

Agilent Technologies received US Patent No. 6,656,740, “Pressure variation in array fabrication.” The patent covers a method, an apparatus, and a computer program for fabricating an array of biopolymers on a substrate. The method uses a biopolymer or biomonomer fluid and a drop dispenser with a chamber where fluid is loaded and an orifice communicating with the chamber from which the fluid is dispensed. The method includes applying enough pressure to move fluid within the drop dispenser but insufficient to cause fluid to be dispensed.

Boston Probes of Bedford, Mass., received US Patent No. 6,649,349, “In situ methods for analyzing target sequences using linear beacons.” The patent covers a system that, in the absence of a target sequence, uses linear beacons to facilitate efficient energy transfer between donor and acceptor moieties linked to opposite ends of a probe. Upon hybridization of the probe to a target sequence, there is a measurable change that can be used to detect, identify, or quantitate the target sequence in a sample.

Randox Laboratories of Crumlin, UK, received US Patent No. 6,649,128, “Assay device processing instrument.” The patent covers an assay device-processing instrument that includes a transport system to relay an assay device to each processing module.

The Scan

Panel Votes for COVID-19 Pill

A US Food and Drug Administration panel has voted to support the emergency use authorization of an antiviral pill for COVID-19 from Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, CNN says.

But Not Harm

New Scientist reports that UK bioethicists say that though gene editing may improve food production, it should not harm livestock welfare.

Effectiveness Drop Anticipated

Moderna's Stéphane Bancel predicts that that current SARS-CoV-2 vaccines may be less effective against the Omicron variant, the Financial Times reports.

Cell Studies of Human Chromatin Accessibility, SARS-CoV-2 Variants, Cell Signaling Networks

In Cell this week: chromatin accessibility maps of adult human tissues, modeling to track SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, and more.