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Drug Royalty Corp., Massachusetts General Hospital, Alnylam, MIT, BG Medicine, MD Anderson, Case Western

Drug Royalty Corp. Buys Future Royalty Rights to Arthritis Drug from MGH
Toronto-based Drug Royalty Corporation last week said that it has acquired the future right to receive royalties on the sale of the drug Enbrel from the Massachusetts General Hospital.
Under the terms of the agreement, Drug Royalty has paid MGH and Enbrel’s faculty inventors a one-time payment of $300 million less accrued royalties for the period from July 1, 2006 to December 31, 2006.
The payment entitles DRC to receive royalty payments on sales of Enbrel outside North America going forward.
Enbrel, also called etanercept, is indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, polyarticular-course juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and chronic moderate to severe psoriasis. It was first approved for rheumatoid arthritis in 1998.
DRC is a privately held investment management company that acquires either existing royalty streams or revenue interests derived from products in the life sciences industry from inventors, academic and research institutions, or companies.

Alnylam Inks Research Deal with MIT
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals last week said that it has agreed to sponsor a five-year RNAi delivery research program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Under the terms of the agreement, Alnylam will provide funding for approximately ten postdocs in the labs of Robert Langer and Daniel Anderson over five years.
The arrangement provides Alnylam with an exclusive option to license future RNAi technology resulting from the research sponsorship. The company said it has also broadened a license for the exclusive rights to use a so-called lipidoid delivery technology developed by the Langer lab for RNAi therapeutics.

BG Medicine and MD Anderson Partner to Find Breast Cancer Treatment Biomarkers
BG Medicine last week said that it has entered into a research collaboration with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center aimed at improving the treatment of breast cancer.
Under the agreement, BG Medicine, based in Waltham, Mass., will apply its biomarker discovery technology to analyze clinical samples provided by MD Anderson. The goal of the collaboration is to identify novel, specific, and sensitive blood-based protein and metabolite biomarkers in breast cancer patients receiving selected treatments.
Further details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Case Western Reserve Receives $27M NIH Contract for Tuberculosis Research
The Tuberculosis Research Unit at the Case Western Reserve University Medical School last week said that it has been awarded a $27 million contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to continue ongoing work in tuberculosis research.
The TBRU is the only research center of its kind in the US, CWRU said. It was previously awarded $28 million over seven years from the National Institutes of Health in 1999.
CWRU said that the contract will allow researchers to expand research activities at the Uganda-Case Research Collaboration with colleagues at Makerere University, Mulago Hospital, and the Joint Clinical Research Center in Kampala, Uganda.
In addition, CWRU will expand its research activities with investigators at the University of Capetown and the South African TB Vaccine Initiative in Capetown, South Africa.

SRI Reacquires Rights to Cancer Drug from Sanofi-Aventis
SRI International last week said that it has reacquired from Sanofi-Aventis all rights to tirapazamine, a cancer drug in Phase III clinical trials, for an undisclosed amount.
Tirapazamine is a bioreductively activated, hypoxia-selective small molecule that acts primarily in hypoxic regions of tumors to cause double-stranded DNA breaks. It was originally identified as an anti-cancer reagent by SRI and Stanford University researchers investigating hypoxia in solid tumors.
“Tirapazamine has been shown to be highly effective in experimental models and we are interested in finding the right partner to continue clinical development of the drug,” Edward Spack, senior director of business development in SRI’s biosciences division, said in a statement.
SRI, based in Menlo Park, Calif., is an independent, non-profit research institute that performs client-sponsored research and development for government agencies, commercial businesses, and private foundations.

AUTM Launches Online Tech Transfer Manual
The Association of University Technology Managers last week launched the third edition of its Technology Transfer Practice Manual, a comprehensive reference tool featuring how-to articles, technology transfer models, sample policies, and more.
The manual is available for the first time ever electronically and comprises two volumes: Laws and Regulations, and How to Manage a Technology Transfer Office. AUTM also said that the two volumes are the first in a series of five to be released over the next couple of years as the entire manual is revised.
The manual is currently available for purchase on the AUTM website.

CAS and FIZ Karlsruhe Launch Web-based Patent Evaluation Tool
CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society, and German firm FIZ Karlsruhe last week released STN Viewer, a Web-based workflow productivity tool intended to increase patent professionals’ efficiency.
Integrated with STN, an online information service for science and technology, STN Viewer provides a suite of patent-management tools and direct access to information contained in STN's full-text patent databases reporting national (British, French, German, US), regional (European), and international (World Patent Organization) patent literature, the companies said.
In addition, with STN Viewer, intellectual property professionals can create custom patent projects using full-text patent documents, and can share patent projects with others in their organization or team.

The Scan

Study Examines Insights Gained by Adjunct Trio RNA Sequencing in Complex Pediatric Disease Cases

Researchers in AJHG explore the diagnostic utility of adding parent-child RNA-seq to genome sequencing in dozens of families with complex, undiagnosed genetic disease.

Clinical Genomic Lab Survey Looks at Workforce Needs

Investigators use a survey approach in Genetics in Medicine Open to assess technologist applications, retention, and workforce gaps at molecular genetics and clinical cytogenetics labs in the US.

Study Considers Gene Regulatory Features Available by Sequence-Based Modeling

Investigators in Genome Biology set sequence-based models against observational and perturbation assay data, finding distal enhancer models lag behind promoter predictions.

Genetic Testing Approach Explores Origins of Blastocyst Aneuploidy

Investigators in AJHG distinguish between aneuploidy events related to meiotic missegregation in haploid cells and those involving post-zygotic mitotic errors and mosaicism.