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BioMarin Pharmaceutical, UCSF, Alnylam, UT-Southwestern, RXi Pharma, UMass Med, Pipex, UCLA, OHSU, NC Biotech Center, Vivalis, NCSU, Countervail, UM-Baltimore, US Army

BioMarin Licenses IP for CF Compounds from UCSF
BioMarin Pharmaceutical has licensed intellectual property covering compounds with the potential to treat cystic fibrosis from the University of California, San Francisco, the company said last month.
Under the terms of the agreement, BioMarin has taken a license to compounds that have been demonstrated to improve cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator protein functionality. The compounds were developed in the laboratory of Alan Verkman, professor of medicine and physiology and director of the Cystic Fibrosis Research Development Program at UCSF.
It is unclear whether the license is exclusive. Financial terms were not disclosed.
BioMarin, based in Novato, Calif., said that it expects the lead compounds to undergo additional animal testing and optimization, with the goal of filing an investigational new drug application in 2009.

Alnylam Takes Part in UT-Southwestern RNAi-based Obesity Rx Grant
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals recently announced its participation in a $22 million roadmap grant from the National Institutes of Health, awarded to scientists from the University of Texas Southwestern for research on obesity.
Alnylam said that it will design, synthesize, and optimize RNAi therapeutics towards disease targets involved in the cause or pathway of obesity and discovered by UT-Southwestern scientists.
The company said that it will retain the rights to develop and commercialize RNAi therapeutics from the research effort.

RXi Pharma Announces Grant of UMass Med Patent Covering siRNA in Australia
RXi Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of CytRx, last week announced the grant of an Australian patent to the University of Massachusetts Medical School covering in vivo production of small interfering RNA that mediate gene silencing.
The granted claims of the patent cover siRNA molecules and their use in methods for inducing RNA interference of a target gene in mammalian cells in vivo, RXi said.
RXi has an exclusive license to this patent for specific therapeutic fields and gene targets, including the use of the technology to inhibit the human cytomegalovirus; the mutant SOD1 gene responsible for intraocular infections in AIDS patients; and gene targets associated with type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Pipex Wins European Patent, Licensed from UCLA and OHSU, for Autoimmune Treatments
Pipex Pharmaceuticals said last week that it has received a broadly issued European patent covering the use of estrogens in combination with other FDA-approved multiple sclerosis therapies for treating autoimmune diseases.
Pipex said the corresponding US and Japanese patents are pending, and that the European patent, EP1286664, supplements its IP estate that includes US Patent No. 6,936,599, which covers estrogen therapy for treating autoimmune disease in women.
Through a wholly owned subsidiary, Pipex has obtained an exclusive license to these patents from the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Oregon Health and Sciences University.

NC BiotechCenter Launches Web Resource for Startup Lab Space
The North Carolina Biotechnology Center has established a website listing wet lab facilities throughout the state that are available for start-up companies to lease or buy.
The site, which can be seen here, contains laboratory site details provided by official facility representatives. The NCBC is sponsoring the site along with the North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center, which had maintained a wet lab and incubator website for several years.
The free listings are searchable for six regions of the state, coinciding with NCBC’s six sites serving western North Carolina, the Charlotte region, the Piedmont Triad, the Research Triangle Park area, the eastern region, and the southeast region.

Vivalis Adds to Portfolio of Cell Culture IP Licensed from NCSU
French biotech Vivalis last month said that it has agreed to license exclusively platform technology from North Carolina State University for producing undifferentiated avian cell cultures using avian primordial germ cells.
The license, which covers US Patent No. 6,333,192 and European Patent No. 1,200,556, supplements a pair of licenses already signed with NCSU in 2002, Vivalis said.
Additional patent applications protecting the technology are pending, the company said. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Countervail Licenses Anti-Bioterrorism IP from UM-Baltimore and US Army
Countervail, a NJ-based company developing antidotes for chemical and biological weaponry, has licensed exclusive commercialization and development rights from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and the US Army for an agent that can protect against the effects of organophosphate-based chemical agents and insecticide poisons.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.