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Burnham Institute for Medical Research, Cyntellect, Scripps Florida, Stem Cell Sciences, Edinburgh University, University Technologies International, University of Calgary, Materia, Olink, Uppsala University, AnaSpec, University of Washington, Azaya Thera

Burnham Institute to Use Cyntellect's Imaging System in Collaboration
High-speed biomedical imaging company Cyntellect said last week that it is collaborating with the Burnham Institute for Medical Research to develop new applications for the company’s in situ cellular imaging tool.
The San Diego-based company said the agreement gives the Burnham researchers access to its LEAP cell imaging and laser processing platform, while Cyntellect gains commercial rights to certain discoveries produced by the collaboration.
The collaboration will focus on developing LEAP applications such as automated purification of stem cells, stem cell colonies, and the differentiated cells derived from stem cells.
Cyntellect said it expects that the new applications can be used to understand stem cell differentiation factors and pathways and to generate cell populations that could be used as stem cell therapeutics.

Scripps Florida Spins Off Company Working on Non-coding RNA
Scripps Florida Professor Claes Wahlstedt has founded a biotech startup called cuRNA to develop therapeutics and possibly diagnostic biomarkers based on non-coding RNA technology licensed from Scripps.
Wahlstedt’s lab at Scripps Florida, which is part of La Jolla, Calif.-based Scripps Research Institute, has been researching the technology, which has been shown to play a vital role in gene expression, according to Scripps. Wahlestedt recently published a paper in the journal Nature Medicine showing that a specialized form of non-coding RNA was directly linked to increased levels of amyloid plaque in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients.
“We have licensed a fairly broad patent with many different targets in major therapeutic areas that fall under the non-coding RNA umbrella including metabolic disease and cancer,” Wahlestedt said in a statement last week. “These things can be used in a number of important ways — to treat disease or as diagnostic markers or tools.”
Wahlestedt founded cuRNA in June along with Joe Collard, a South Florida business consultant. They have set up operations in the offices of another biosciences firm in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Details of the licensing arrangement have not been disclosed.

Stem Cell Sciences Uses Edinburgh U Tech in Rat ESC Breakthrough
Stem Cell Sciences said this week that two independent laboratories in the UK and US have achieved germ-line transmission from embryonic stem cells in rats using technologies exclusively licensed to the company by Edinburgh University.
The company said that it believes this to be the first demonstration of germ-line transmission from rat ES cells, and it has submitted a paper on the research to an unnamed “major” scientific journal for publication.
Under the terms of its agreement with Edinburgh University, SCS has global exclusive rights to commercialize the rat ES cells, the specific culture medium used to generate and grow the cells, and rats derived using the technology.
The company has exclusively licensed two patents covering the technology from the university, and now plans to sublicense rat ES cells to interested parties for use in their commercial drug discovery programs, SCS said.
The culture medium patent family, which is filed in multiple territories including the US, contains several specific enzyme inhibitors which, when used in certain combinations, can be used to grow embryonic (or pluripotent) rat stem cells reliably in a serum-free environment.
The rat ES cell patent family, which is also filed in multiple territories including the US, gives SCS the exclusive right to make and commercialize unique rat models for biopharmaceutical research and development, a global market that it estimates exceeds $80 million.

U of Calgary’s Tech-Transfer Arm Licenses Catalysts to Materia
University Technologies International, the University of Calgary's technology transfer, commercialization, and incubation center, has exclusively licensed to Materia olefin metathesis catalysts developed by UC researcher Warren Piers.
The license is an expansion of a 2004 agreement between UTI and Materia that allowed Materia to provide research materials and support for further scientific studies on metathesis catalysts in Piers’ lab.
Materia said that promising results prompted the company to expand the agreement to an exclusive license, which gives them the right to sell and produce products using the technology.
The catalysts produced by Piers are very active and have a faster rate of initiation than some other catalysts, Materia said. This can allow for the manipulation of carbon-carbon bonds at lower temperatures, potentially decreasing energy consumption and enhancing cost-effectiveness of chemical production.
"Materia's expertise in commercializing catalyst technology along with their international competitiveness made them the ideal licensing partner for Dr. Piers' technology," Kevin Casement, vice-president of licensing and business development for UTI, said in a statement.

Olink and Uppsala University Found Subsidiary to Market Sample-Prep Tech
Olink, an Uppsala, Sweden-based biotechnology company, said this week that it has co-founded Olink Genomics with researchers at Uppsala University.
The Olink subsidiary will commercialize the proprietary Selector Technology for sample preparation applications in the rapidly expanding market of next-generation DNA sequencing, Olink said.
Olink Genomics will commercialize the technologies primarily as services and reagent kits. Meantime, the academic founders will also contribute software to support probe development, Olink said.

AnaSpec Licenses Protein Tyrosine Phosphate IP from UW TechTransfer
Proteomics products company AnaSpec has licensed intellectual property from the University of Washington’s technology transfer arm, the company said last week.
AnaSpec has licensed the rights to make, use, and sell protein tyrosine phosphatase substrates covered under UW TechTransfer’s patent No. 5,739,278, entitled “Compositions for Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases.”
The San Jose-based company, which sells peptides, detection reagents, and combinatorial chemistry products, said it plans to market the UW protein technology as part of its GO Peptides line.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Azaya Therapeutics Licenses Radiation Therapy Method from UTHSCSA
Azaya Therapeutics said this week that it has licensed cancer radiation therapy technology from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
The technology, developed over the last six years by UTHSCSA scientists William Phillips, Ande Bao, and Beth Goins, uses liposomes to deliver radiation through direct injection into head and neck tumors, which may shrink tumors, delay recurrence, and avoid the collateral tissue damage associated with other forms of radiation therapy, Azaya said.
Azaya, based in San Antonio, said it plans to begin a phase I clinical trial of the technology, now known as Azaya Liposomal Encapsulated Radiation Therapy, in early 2010.
Financial terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.

The Scan

Single-Cell Sequencing Points to Embryo Mosaicism

Mosaicism may affect preimplantation genetic tests for aneuploidy, a single-cell sequencing-based analysis of almost three dozen embryos in PLOS Genetics finds.

Rett Syndrome Mouse Model Study Points to RNA Editing Possibilities

Investigators targeted MECP2 in mutant mouse models of Rett syndrome, showing in PNAS that they could restore its expression and dial down symptoms.

Investigators Find Shared, Distinct Genetic Contributors to Childhood Hodgkin Lymphoma

An association study in JAMA Network Open uncovers risk variants within and beyond the human leukocyte antigen locus.

Transcriptomic, Epigenetic Study Appears to Explain Anti-Viral Effects of TB Vaccine

Researchers report in Science Advances on an interferon signature and long-term shifts in monocyte cell DNA methylation in Bacille Calmette-Guérin-vaccinated infant samples.