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AstraZeneca, Columbia University Medical Center, BASF Plant Science, University of Manitoba, Q Therapeutics, Johns Hopkins University, BioWisdom

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AstraZeneca and Columbia University Medical Ink Research Pact for Depression, Anxiety Rxs
 
AstraZeneca and Columbia University Medical Center last week announced a research collaboration to examine how neurogenesis in adults might offer novel approaches to treating depression and anxiety.
 
AstraZeneca will be working primarily with Rene Hen, professor of neuroscience and psychiatry at CUMC. Hen said in a statement that the collaboration will specifically seek to harness the potential of adult-born neurons to stimulate hippocampal function and possibly treat mood and cognitive disorders faster and with fewer side effects.
 
Additional terms of the research agreement were not disclosed.
 
In June, AstraZeneca and CUMC announced a strategic research collaboration in the area of metabolic disease.
 

 
BASF Plant Science Licenses Plant Hardiness Gene from University of Manitoba
 
BASF Plant Science and the University of Manitoba this week said that BASF has licensed a gene discovery from the university related to increased crop yields and stress tolerance.
 
Under the terms of the agreement, BASF Plant Science will test, develop, and, subject to positive field trial results, market the discovery, made by Robert Hill and colleagues at the University of Manitoba.
 
The discovery may be used in major food crops such as corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, and rice, according to BASF.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
 

 
Q Therapeutics, Johns Hopkins Commence Collaborative Studies on ALS
 
Q Therapeutics announced this week that studies are underway with researchers at Johns Hopkins University to build on recent results showing that glial progenitor cells have a therapeutic benefit in a model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
 
Q Therapeutics said that results of Johns Hopkins’ initial studies in this area appear in a paper published this week in Nature Neuroscience.
 
Q’s collaboration with the laboratory of Nicholas Maragakis at Johns Hopkins will focus on the ability of Q’s human glial progenitor cells, known as Q-Cells, to protect motor neurons from degeneration in the SOD-1 rat model of ALS.
 
The collaboration will support the development of a therapeutic product for treatment of ALS, Q said. In parallel, Q Therapeutics will continue to manufacture the cellular product with the University of Utah Cell Therapy Facility, and to perform pre-clinical safety studies to support a future Investigational New Drug submission to the US Food and Drug Administration.
 
The work is being supported by a grant from the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund and Q Therapeutics (see BTW, 6-18-08). Maragakis, an associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins, is principal investigator and James Campanelli, senior director of research and development at Q, is co-investigator on the grant.
 

 
UK’s BioWisdom Launches Visualization Software for Patent Specialists
 
Healthcare informatics firm BioWisdom this week announced the release of OmniViz Visualization Software for patent specialists.
 
According to BioWisdom, which is based in Cambridge, UK, OmniViz Visualization software can be used to analyze thousands of patents using a straightforward and rapid process.
 
“OmniViz is unique in being able to analyze thousands of patent documents, automatically analyzing trends and associations [in a way] that is just not possible with any other product on the market today” Chris Hodkinson, COO of BioWisdom, said in a statement.
 
The company said that in particular OmniViz could be used in combination with the company’s Patent Harvester software, an interface for searching and downloading patents from the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The Scan

Driving Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes Down

Researchers from the UK and Italy have tested a gene drive for mosquitoes to limit the spread of malaria, NPR reports.

Office Space to Lab Space

The New York Times writes that some empty office spaces are transforming into lab spaces.

Prion Pause to Investigate

Science reports that a moratorium on prion research has been imposed at French public research institutions.

Genome Research Papers on Gut Microbe Antibiotic Response, Single-Cell RNA-Seq Clues to Metabolism, More

In Genome Research this week: gut microbial response to antibiotic treatment, approach to gauge metabolic features from single-cell RNA sequencing, and more.