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Laboratory Corporation of America, Duke University Medical Center, Invitrogen, IMBcom, National University of Ireland, Beckman Coulter, Protalix BioTherapeutics, Yissum Research and Development Company, University of Maryland, Link Plus

LabCorp to Market Lung Cancer Dx from Duke
Laboratory Corporation of America plans to commercialize a blood-based assay for early-stage lung cancer detection that was developed by Duke University Medical Center, the company said last week.
Working under an exclusive license agreement, Burlington, NC-based LabCorp plans to market the serum protein assay, which is based on research published in a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The assay could serve as a useful complement to imaging studies, the company said.
"There is an enormous unmet medical need related to the diagnosis of lung cancer in the earliest stages when it is most treatable," Duke radiology professor Edward Patz said in a statement. "Our goal is to develop a cutting-edge technology that when combined with other modalities such as CT imaging can better differentiate true cancers from benign nodules."
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Invitrogen Licenses IMBcom's Non-Coding RNAs
Invitrogen announced last week that it has licensed exclusive rights from University of Queensland tech-transfer company IMBcom to commercialize new non-coding RNA molecules as they are developed.
Invitrogen said the agreement will expand its RNA product portfolio, and in particular its NCode microRNA microarray product line.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Having access to non-coding RNAs will allow researchers to simultaneously investigate coding and non-coding sequences by microarray. Because non-coding RNAs are believed to influence many cellular processes, including stem cell development and cancer, understanding how these molecules interact with and influence mRNA expression will likely be an important area of research.
Researchers at the University of Queensland in Brisbane are using a proprietary algorithm to predict the new non-coding RNAs, which are subsequently validated experimentally. So far the algorithm has predicted tens of thousands of human and mouse sequences related to both coding and non-coding RNA.
IMBcom is the University of Queensland’s company for commercializing intellectual property arising from research conducted at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience.

Beckman Coulter Inks Molecular Dx Collaboration with Irish Researchers
The National University of Ireland, Galway, this week announced that Beckman Coulter is launching a four-year collaborative research program with researchers at the university in the field of molecular diagnostics.
Beckman Coulter has a manufacturing facility in Galway, where it makes hematology and immunoassay reagents used in its diagnostic instruments. According to the university, the agreement marks the first collaborative research undertaken by Beckman in Ireland.
The alliance will include the creation of a research team of 10 Masters and PhD researchers at the university.
Beckman is developing a next-generation molecular diagnostics platform that it plans to launch in 2010.
The agreement with NUI provides Beckman with “access to intellectual property for the development of tests for infectious diseases including sepsis; hospital-acquired infections; and sexually transmitted diseases, such as Chlamydia and Neisseria,” Mike Whelan, group vice president of Beckman’s High Sensitivity Testing group, said in a statement.
NUI’s National Center for Biomedical Engineering Science has an active molecular diagnostics program that has been developing molecular-based infectious disease tests.
The collaboration with Beckman is being supported by IDA Ireland, an Irish government agency responsible for drumming up investment in the country from overseas companies.

Protalix Extends Research Agreement with Hebrew U’s Yissum
Protalix BioTherapeutics this week said that it has extended its research agreement with Yissum Research and Development Company, the tech-transfer arm of Hebrew University, based on positive proof-of-concept results in an animal study conducted as part of its acetylcholinesterase program.
The AChE program is being conducted under a previously established research agreement between Protalix, Yissum, and the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Cornell University.
In August, Protalix licensed technology for producing AChE and its variants in plants for a variety of therapeutic and preventative applications from the Yissum and BTI (see BTW, 8/13/2007).
Under the new research agreement extension, Protalix will collaborate with the laboratory of Hermona Soreq, professor and dean of the faculty of science at Hebrew University.

U of Maryland Licenses MIPs Tech to Link Plus for Biodefense Applications
The University of Maryland has granted Link Plus an exclusive, worldwide license for molecularly imprinted polymers developed for binding, separating, and detecting viruses and bacteria, Link Plus said this week.
Link Plus will use the polymers, or MIPs, to commercialize products that help detect and identify viral threats to homeland security. The company, based in Columbia, Md., has an existing exclusive license with Johns Hopkins University for MIPs technology for detecting chemical and explosive threats.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Scan

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

TB Resistance Insights Gleaned From Genome Sequence, Antimicrobial Response Assays

Researchers in PLOS Biology explore M. tuberculosis resistance with a combination of sequencing and assays looking at the minimum inhibitory concentrations of 13 drugs.

Mendelian Disease Genes Prioritized Using Tissue-Specific Expression Clues

Mendelian gene candidates could be flagged for further functional analyses based on tissue-specific transcriptome and proteome profiles, a new Journal of Human Genetics paper says.

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.