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BioNanomatri, Princeton University, Biogen Idec, Johns Hopkins, OpGen, Bioptogen, RegeneRx, University of Maryland, UMB, Florida Atlantic University, NIST

BioNanomatrix, Princeton Win $200K STTR Grant to Develop Microfluidics for Whole-Genome Analysis
BioNanomatrix and Princeton University have received a two-year, $200,000 Small Technology Transfer Research grant from the National Cancer Institute to further develop an integrated fluidics system for front-end sample sorting on BioNanomatrix’s whole-genome analytic platform, the company said this week.
BioNanomatrix said that the goal of the project is to develop integrated systems that can separate out whole chromosomes from a single cell or multiple cells.
James Sturm, a professor of engineering and applied science and director of the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials, is co-investigator on the project.
BioNanomatrix was founded as a Princeton University spinout in 2003, and has exclusively licensed its technology platform from the university.

Biogen Idec, Johns Hopkins to Collaborate on Neurodegenerative Disease Therapies
Biogen Idec and Johns Hopkins University’s Brain Science Institute will collaborate to discover and develop therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Biogen said this week.
Biogen said that the collaboration was “the first of its kind” with the university, and will focus on discovering and advancing clinical candidates from the lab into the clinic.
John Griffin, director of the Brain Science Institute, will serve as academic lead on the project. Griffin is also a professor of neuroscience and pathology, and neurologist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He also is a member of Biogen’s neurology scientific advisory board.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

OpGen Collects $23.6M in Series A Financing
OpGen has received $23.6 million in Series A private-equity financing, which it plans to use to develop commercial instrumentation systems for the clinical microbiology marketplace, the company said last week.
OpGen, a Madison, Wisc.-based firm specializing in analyzing microbial DNA, also said it is looking for a new chief executive.
The cash came from three new venture capital investors, including CHL Medical Partners, Highland Capital Partners, and Versant Ventures. Existing investor Mason Wells also contributed to the financing round.
OpGen holds licenses to patents from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and New York University. Its technology allows it to create a comprehensive map of microbial DNA so users can identify strains of bacteria.

Duke Spinout Bioptogen Garners $500K in Series B Financing
Bioptogen, a spinout from Duke University’s biomedical engineering department, has raised $500,000 in Series B financing, the company said last week.
The Piedmont Angel Network Two fund said that it was participating in the financing. Piedmont also participated in Bioptogen’s $1.4 million Series A financing round. Other undisclosed Series A investors also participated in the new round.
Earlier this year, Bioptogen received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for its non-invasive eye scanner. Developed by Duke University researchers, the scanner is designed to provide microscale, 3D images of the retina and other eye surfaces 50 times faster than other scanners.
Bioptogen said that the system will be used for examinations for eye diseases such as glaucoma.
The company also said that it plans to raise a total of $2 million in Series B financing to support the launch of its system, targeted for the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual conference in November.

RegeneRx, UMB to Co-Develop Drug for Repurfusion Injury Under Maryland State Program
RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals last week said that it is partnering with the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and the state of Maryland to develop a pharmaceutical product aimed at preventing reperfusion injury associated with cardiac ischemia.
The project will take place under the Maryland Industrial Partnerships, or MIPS, program, an initiative of the A. James Clark School of Engineering’s Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute. MIPS is designed to speed the commercialization of university technologies by supporting research projects and facilitating industry-academia collaboration.
Under the program, the state of Maryland will contribute $100,000 to the $232,000-per-year project in the first year, with an agreement to provide second-year funding upon the successful completion of milestones.
RegeneRx will contribute approximately $54,000 per year and retains the right to exclusively license all intellectual property developed under the project, the company said.

FAU Wins US Patent for Cardiac Cell Differentiation Methods, Seeks Licensee
Florida Atlantic University last week said that it has received US Patent No. 7,271,254, “Promoting cardiac cell differentiation,” based on an invention that induces and restores cardiac muscle function.
The invention was disclosed by Larry Lemanski, an FAU researcher and vice president for research, along with postdoctoral fellow Chi Zhang.
Their research has focused on understanding the mechanisms that regulate myocardial cell differentiation and myofibrillogenesis in the developing heart, FAU said.
Stephen Nappi, director of technology transfer and assistant vice president for research at FAU, said in a statement that the university will “aggressively seek to identify and recruit the right company to help us bring this important invention to patients with cardiovascular disease.”

NIST to Promote Licensing Opportunities at Tech Transfer Conference
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is holding a technology transfer event on Tuesday, Oct. 9, to provide information on microfluidics technologies under development and available for licensing from NIST.
NIST said that individuals interested in learning about the process for licensing its inventions should attend, and will have an opportunity to network with NIST scientists and tech-transfer staff.
The conference will feature special addresses by James Turner, acting director and deputy director of NIST; and George Arnold, NIST Technology Services deputy director.
Interested parties can find more information on the NIST website [LINK:].

The Scan

Self-Reported Hearing Loss in Older Adults Begins Very Early in Life, Study Says

A JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery study says polygenic risk scores associated with hearing loss in older adults is also associated with hearing decline in younger groups.

Genome-Wide Analysis Sheds Light on Genetics of ADHD

A genome-wide association study meta-analysis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder appearing in Nature Genetics links 76 genes to risk of having the disorder.

MicroRNA Cotargeting Linked to Lupus

A mouse-based study appearing in BMC Biology implicates two microRNAs with overlapping target sites in lupus.

Enzyme Involved in Lipid Metabolism Linked to Mutational Signatures

In Nature Genetics, a Wellcome Sanger Institute-led team found that APOBEC1 may contribute to the development of the SBS2 and SBS13 mutational signatures in the small intestine.