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MitoSciences, Hospital for Sick Children, North Shore Technology, ViroNovative, Luminex, TheraGenetics, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Upstream Biosciences, McGill University’s Institute of Parasitology, Znomics, Oregon Health & Science Universit

MitoSciences Licenses Protein-Production Tech from Toronto’s SickKids
MitoSciences said this week that it has taken a license from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto for recombinant vector systems for producing the four kinases and two phosphatases that activate and deactivate the enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase.
MitoSciences has patent-pending tests for measuring PDH activity in both high-throughput and clinical platforms, and intends to use the newly accessed proteins to provide complete solutions for understanding the activity of PDH, the company said.
PDH has been identified as a key biomarker for cancer, diabetes, and certain inherited diseases, and it is deactivated by kinases and re-activated by phosphatases.
Financial terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.

North Shore Tech Council Opens Life Sciences Accelerator
The North Shore Technology Council this week announced the opening of the North Shore Life Sciences Accelerator, a non-profit corporation resulting from the NSTC's mission to foster the region's technology clusters.
The North Shore Life Sciences Accelerator will be based at the Cummings Center in Beverley, Mass., and will nurture select early-stage biotech or medical device firms with strong technologies and business plans.
The concept for the Accelerator spawned from the active NSTC Biomedical Section, NSTC said.
The Accelerator is led by a group of life sciences veterans, investors, and academics, many of whom sit on the NSTC board of directors or are active in the council. Harry McCoy, NSTC board member and CEO of Thorne Diagnostics, in Beverly, is chairman. Martha Farmer, a biomedical ethics fellow at Harvard Medical School and an NSTC board member, will serve as president.

Luminex Gains Right to Use ViroNovative IP in Respiratory Viral Panel
Dutch diagnostics developer ViroNovative has granted Luminex worldwide rights to use ViroNovative’s human metapneumovirus intellectual property in the Luminex xTAG Respiratory Viral Panel, the companies said last week.
Luminex said that its distributors and customers around the world also have rights to use the ViroNovative IP under the terms of the agreement.
ViroNovative is an Erasmus University spin-out developing diagnostics, vaccines, and antivirals for hMPV. The virus, first characterized in 2001 by company founders, causes flu-like symptoms and is thought to be the second-most-common cause of lower respiratory infection in young children.

TheraGenetics Licenses IP from CAMH to Predict Response to Antidepressants
Pharmacogenetic diagnostic developer TheraGenetics has licensed intellectual property from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Ontario, Canada, related to predicting patient response to antidepressants, the company said last week.
TheraGenetics, which is developing a suite of tests to guide the treatment of central nervous system disorders, said that the kits will help determine whether certain patients are susceptible to side-effects from antidepressants.
The company did not disclose further details of the IP that it licensed or the specific antidepressants that it plans to target with the tests.
TheraGenetics CEO Richard Kivel said in a statement that the IP “further augments our capabilities to innovate pharmacogenetic diagnostics tests in a broad range of disorders, including schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer's disease and ADHD."

Upstream Biosciences and McGill to Test Drugs For Tropical Diseases
Upstream Biosciences said last week that it will collaborate with McGill University’s Institute of Parasitology in Montreal to begin in vitro testing of Upstream’s second generation of drug candidates for treating tropical diseases leishmaniasis, trypanaosomiasis, and malaria.
Upstream's proprietary drug-discovery platform accelerates the speed and reduces the cost of discovering drugs, the company said.
Testing at McGill's Institute of Parasitology will be directed by Armando Jardim, whose research covers the identification and characterization of parasite drug targets, including leishmaniasis.
The company’s first generation of drug candidates has successfully demonstrated in vitro anti-parasitic activity, in vitro human cell safety, and in vivo safety for leishmaniasis, trypanaosomiasis, and malaria.

Znomics Inks Drug-Discovery Collaboration with OHSU
Zebrafish-screening firm Znomics said last week that it is collaborating with Oregon Health & Science University to develop pre-clinical compounds to treat diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease.
The company said it will be collaborating with Thomas Scanlan, director of OHSU’s chemical biology program, on the project. Scanlan has been a member of Znomics' scientific advisory board since December 2007.
Under the terms of the agreement, Znomics will fund the program and will have the option to exclusively license the rights to the discoveries.
The company said that the collaboration meets its objective of establishing three de novo drug-discovery programs this year, and that it plans to have three pre-clinical lead compounds in different disease areas in 2010.
In addition to the disease areas covered in the OHSU collaboration, the firm has a drug discovery program in obesity and a collaborative drug discovery program with the University of Utah that it signed earlier this year to develop compounds for the treatment of T-cell diseases, including leukemia, lymphoma, and autoimmune disorders.

IBM, University of Tokyo to Develop System for Scrutinizing Patent Applications
IBM will collaborate with the University of Tokyo and other colleges to develop a technique that can be used to vet patent applications worldwide for problems before they are submitted, IBM said this week.
The patent quality index, a checklist for examining patent applications, is expected to be completed by 2010.
Others participating in the effort are Columbia University and the University of Munich.
The index will make it possible for patent applications to be scored in areas such as whether novelty searches and patent explanations are sufficient, IBM said. Based on this score, a company or other entity hoping to file a patent application would make corrections if necessary.
The index is expected to reduce the risk of patents becoming voided later, and to save legal costs.
For example, IBM said that in the US, some 70 percent of patents are forced to make revisions because other entities have gone to court to ask that patent applications be re-examined.

Helen Bader Foundation Grants $20K for UW-Milwaukee Tech-Transfer Internship
The Helen Bader Foundation has provided a $20,000 grant to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Research Foundation to support a technology-transfer internship program, The Business Journal of Milwaukee reported last week.
The UWM internship involves several of the beginning stages of the intellectual property-management process and concentrates on prospects, intake, and assessment, according to the report.

Max Planck Licenses Leishmaniasis Drugs to Dafra Pharmaceuticals
Max Planck Innovation, the technology-transfer arm of the Max Planck Society, has granted Belgian company Dafra Pharma R&D an exclusive license to develop and commercialize of a leishmaniasis drug.
The license is based on a compound called oleylphosphocholine discovered by Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry.
Dafra Pharma R&D is a subsidiary of the Dafra Pharma International group, which has specialized in developing antimalarial drugs.

The Scan

Study Finds Few FDA Post-Market Regulatory Actions Backed by Research, Public Assessments

A Yale University-led team examines in The BMJ safety signals from the US FDA Adverse Event Reporting System and whether they led to regulatory action.

Duke University Team Develops Programmable RNA Tool for Cell Editing

Researchers have developed an RNA-based editing tool that can target specific cells, as they describe in Nature.

Novel Gene Editing Approach for Treating Cystic Fibrosis

Researchers in Science Advances report on their development of a non-nuclease-based gene editing approach they hope to apply to treat cystic fibrosis.

Study Tracks Responses in Patients Pursuing Polygenic Risk Score Profiling

Using interviews, researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics qualitatively assess individuals' motivations for, and experiences with, direct-to-consumer polygenic risk score testing.