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Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska Development AB, Samaritan Pharmaceuticals, Samaritan Therapeutics, Seaside Therapeutics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Tel Aviv University, Ramot, Egenix, Harvard University Medical School

Karolinska Creates Development Firm to Speed Tech Transfer from Nordic Schools
Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska Development AB this week said they have created a new entity, Karolinska Development, to help commercialize academic research in the Nordic countries.
In a statement, Karolinska Institutet said that the new entity “will drive the commercial development of future medicines, benefiting human health. The aim is to ensure a significantly faster return on investment than conventional venture capital investment in the early stage life science area, while simultaneously lowering development costs.”
The institute said that Karolinska Institutet Innovations AB, the tech-transfer arm of Karolinska Institutet, has raised about 800 million SEK ($124 million) in venture capital to date and reviewed more than 800 inventions for investment by the new entity.
The creation of the development firm will “ensure that all innovations from academia and other research centers in Nordic countries reviewed by Karolinska Institutet Innovations AB are offered to Karolinska Development under an exclusive collaboration.”
Karolinska also said that Karolinska Development aims to be listed on a stock exchange in the future, and has completed the offer after shareholders representing 99 percent of the shares in Karolinska Development I AB and 94 percent of the shares in Karolinska Development II AB agreed to transfer their shares against consideration in the form of newly issued shares in Karolinska Development.

Pair of Samaritans Ink Research, Licensing Deal with McGill University
Samaritan Pharmaceuticals, based in Las Vegas, Nev., and Canada’s Samaritan Therapeutics, said this week that they have signed a research collaboration and licensing agreement with The Research Institute of McGill University Health Center in Montreal to advance its pipeline of drugs into clinical trial status and develop new innovative drug candidates.
During the initial phase of the agreement, RI-MUHC will continue the previous studies of Vassilios Papadopoulos, previously of Georgetown University and current director of RI-MUHC.
Under the agreement, RI-MUHC will continue to develop the drug pipeline that was originally developed in the Georgetown-Samaritan collaboration, and will take potential new drug candidates through the discovery process.
Once drug candidates are clinically validated, Samaritan Therapeutics will continue to develop the drug candidate in Canada, while Samaritan Pharmaceuticals will focus on seeking US regulatory approval for the drug candidate.
Janet Greeson, CEO of Samaritan Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement that "as patents expire and industry innovation declines, we feel this strategic alliance will help us to keep our pipeline fresh and stay ahead of the curve, in addition to the financial benefits we hope to receive by accomplishing research in Canada."
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Seaside Awards $4.5M Research Contract to Vanderbilt for Fragile X Syndrome
Seaside Therapeutics this week said that it has awarded a $4.5 million collaborative research contract to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to discover novel compounds to suppress the manifestations of fragile X syndrome.
Jeffrey Conn, director of Vanderbilt’s program in drug discovery and a member of Seaside’s scientific advisory board, will lead the research team. Thus far his group has identified more than 400 novel compounds belonging to multiple chemical classes that inhibit mGluR5, a metabotropic glutamate receptor whose excessive signaling has been implicated in fragile X syndrome.
Seaside will select certain compounds from the collaboration to carry forward into clinical development.
Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited disorder of brain development and the most common genetic cause of autism. Individuals with fragile X can suffer from impaired cognitive function, developmental delay, attention deficit and hyperactivity, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, and autistic behaviors.

Tel Aviv U’s Ramot Licenses Antifungal Compounds to Foamix
Israeli drug maker Foamix has taken a worldwide, exclusive license to organo-boron antifungal molecules from Tel Aviv University tech-transfer arm Ramot, the organizations said last week.
Under the agreement, Foamix will have exclusive rights to commercialize compounds based on the molecules for topical and systemic treatment of fungal disease. The molecules were developed by Amihay Freeman and colleagues at Tel Aviv University.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
In a statement, Foamix said that the total global market for antifungal agents was worth more than $11 billion in 2007 and will reach nearly $14 billion by 2012, while global sales of dermatological antifungal drugs were about $3 billion last year.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Egenix Licenses Cancer Therapies, Biomarkers from Harvard
Egenix has obtained a field-exclusive license under patent rights covering certain technologies related to cancer therapy and prognostic testing from Harvard University.
The licensed technologies were developed by scientists in the laboratory for translational research and the department of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology at Harvard Medical School.
The technology comprises small-molecule inhibitors of translation initiation, which Egenix, based in Millbrook, NY, called “a new paradigm in target-specific, non-cytotoxic anti-cancer therapy;” as well as translation initiation-specific biomarkers to assess tumor sensitivity to anti-cancer therapies.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The Scan

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.

Survey Sees Genetic Literacy on the Rise, Though Further Education Needed

Survey participants appear to have higher genetic familiarity, knowledge, and skills compared to 2013, though 'room for improvement' remains, an AJHG paper finds.

Study Reveals Molecular, Clinical Features in Colorectal Cancer Cases Involving Multiple Primary Tumors

Researchers compare mismatch repair, microsatellite instability, and tumor mutation burden patterns in synchronous multiple- or single primary colorectal cancers.

FarGen Phase One Sequences Exomes of Nearly 500 From Faroe Islands

The analysis in the European Journal of Human Genetics finds few rare variants and limited geographic structure among Faroese individuals.