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Burnham Institute, PHRI, UMich, and Brandeis and Brigham Women's Execute Licensing Deals

Following is a summary of recent notable licensing deals executed by academic or non-profit research institutions in biotechnology and life sciences.
Institution: Burnham Institute for Medical Research
Primary Inventors: Erkki Ruoslahti, professor and former president of Burnham Institute; and Masanobu Komatsu, assistant professor at University of Alabama-Birmingham School of Medicine and former postdoctoral fellow at Burnham
Licensee: Vascular Biosciences, San Diego
Technology: Intellectual property related to the role of the intracellular protein R-Ras in neointimal hyperplasia, angiogenesis, and vascular proliferation. Ruoslahti and Komatsu found that R-Ras exerts a strong inhibitory effect on mitotic and invasive activities of activated endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells, and promotes quiescence of these cells. Vascular Biosciences is targeting R-Ras signaling to develop therapies for a wide range of disorders.

Institution: Public Health Research Institute Center, an extension of UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School
Primary Inventors: Fred Kramer, member and chairman, PHRI, and research professor at the New York University School of Medicine; and Sanjay Tyagi, principal investigator, PHRI
Licensee: Applied DNA Sciences, Stony Brook, NY
Technology: Fluorescent single-stranded oligonucleotide hybridization “molecular beacon” probes. Applied DNA Sciences will incorporate the molecular beacons in next-generation detection devices for use in ID verification, forensics, and other applications.

Institution: University of Michigan
Primary Inventor: David Kurnit, professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases, University of Michigan Medical Center
Licensee: SensiGen, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Technology: Ultra-sensitive human papillomavirus detection test based on the detection of HPV DNA in blood or tissue samples, and able to identify unique genotypes of the disease that cause cervical cancer. SensiGen will market the test under the name AttoSense.

Institutions: Brandeis University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Primary Inventors: Raquel Lieberman, research fellow, neurology, Brigham and Women’s Hopsital; Gregory Petsko, faculty, Brandeis University, and visiting professor, neurology, Brigham and Women’s; and Dadgmar Ringe, faculty, Brandeis, and visiting professor, neurology, Brigham and Women’s
Licensee: Amicus Therapeutics
Technology: Intellectual property related to the structure of β-glucosidase, also known as GCase. In collaboration with Amicus, the researchers discovered that GCase, which is mutated in Gaucher disease, undergoes a structural change near its active site upon binding to a small molecule. Amicus is currently testing the small molecule in clinical trials for treatment of the disease.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.