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News Briefs: Dec 31, 2008

Kinetic Concepts and Wake Forest File Patent Infringement Suit Against Convatec, Boehringer
Kinetic Concepts and Wake Forest University have filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Convatec, Boehringer Wound Systems, and Boehringer Technologies regarding commercialization of Boehringer’s Engenex negative pressure wound therapy system.
Kinetic Concepts and Wake Forest filed the suit with the Federal District Court in the Middle District of North Carolina.
According to the suit, Boehringer’s Engenex system, for which Convatec has worldwide exclusive global marketing and distribution rights, allegedly infringes on one or more patents owned by Wake Forest and exclusively licensed to Kinetic Concepts.
This is at least the third patent infringement lawsuit filed by Kinetic Concepts and Wake Forest for alleged infringement of its patents. In January, the pair filed a lawsuit against Innovative Therapies in the US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina; and last May they filed suit against Smith & Nephew and BlueSky Medical in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

UC Awarded US Patent for Adipose-Derived Stem Cells, Says Licensee Cytori
Cytori said this week that a US patent covering adipose-derived stem and progenitor cells has been issued to the University of California.
The patent, US No. 7,470,537, covers a population of stem cells, progenitor cells, and other replicating cells, which can be obtained from human adipose tissue. The composition-of-matter patent is licensed to Cytori through an agreement with UC, Cytori said.
According to the company, the patent broadens Cytori’s current patent portfolio for adipose-derived cell therapies and strengthens its ability to freely develop future therapeutics.
Specifically, the newly issued claims are directed to cells expressing certain combinations of STRO-1+, CD29+, CD44+, CD71+, CD49D+, CD90+, CD105+, SH3, CD45-, CD31-, and low or undetectable levels of CD106.
The patent application containing these claims is jointly owned by UC and the University of Pittsburgh.

Urigen Amends Licensing Agreement with UCSD
Urigen Pharmaceuticals said this week that it has amended its licensing agreement with the University of California, San Diego, for intellectual property covering Urigen’s URG101 program for painful bladder syndrome.
“In cooperation with UCSD, we have amended the annual license payments to ensure that we are in compliance with our obligations,” Urigen CEO William Garner said in a statement. “Amending this license … is an important step in re-organizing and re-focusing our efforts to enhance shareholder value,” he added.
Additional details were not disclosed.
Urigen, based in San Francisco, is a specialty pharmaceutical company developing treatments for urological disorders and pain.

VistaGen Licenses Stem Cell Patents for Predictive Assays from WARF
Stem cell-based drug-discovery firm VistaGen Therapeutics has signed an agreement with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation for patents to technology that may be used in predictive drug-screening assays, Vistagen said recently.
The licensed patents are a result of research conducted by James Thomson at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center.
VistaGen, based in South San Francisco, plans to use the technology to speed up development of customized, next-generation stem cell-based predictive toxicology and drug screening assays.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

MabVax Wins $400K in STTR Grants for Cancer Vaccine Work with MSKCC
MabVax Therapeutics said this month that it has received two Small Business Technology Transfer grants totaling $400,000 from the National Cancer Institute.
The first award will support a pilot trial with a tetravalent conjugate vaccine against small cell lung cancer, to be conducted by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center early next year. The second award will support MabVax’s efforts to isolate human antibodies from immunized patients participating in those Phase I trials.
Earlier this year, MabVax completed a pair of licensing agreements with the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, MSKCC’s research arm, for exclusive development and commercialization rights to multiple vaccines against selected recurring cancers.

The Scan

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.

Sequencing Study Leads to Vaccine Target in Bacteria Behind Neonatal Meningitis

Researchers eBioMedicine track down potential vaccine targets with transposon sequencing on mutant bacteria causing neonatal meningitis in mouse models of the disease.

Multiple Myeloma Progression Influenced by Immune Microenvironment Expression

Researchers in NPJ Genomic Medicine compare RNA sequencing profiles of 102,207 individual cells in bone marrow samples from 18 individuals with rapid or non-progressing multiple myeloma.

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.