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MitoSciences, University of Oregon, Rosetta, University of California-Irvine, NSF, Loma Linda University, Larta Institute, Znomics, Oregon Health and Science University, Buck Institute for Age Research, Q Therapeutics, City of Hope, Helicos BioSciences, B


MitoSciences Licenses Ab Tech from U of Oregon for Toxicity Screening
MitoSciences has agreed to an exclusive license for monoclonal antibodies from the University of Oregon for use in its cell-based drug toxicity screening tests and multiplexing assays, the Eugene, Ore.-based company said this week.
The University will receive royalties from patent-related sales and $4.6 million in fixed quarterly cash payments over 10 years.
The agreement also gives MitoSciences exclusive commercialization rights for a portfolio of “biological assets,” and an exclusive license for several patents covering the use of monoclonal antibodies that recognize mitochondrial antigens, the company said.

UC Irvine to Validate MicroRNA Dx Tests for Rosetta Genomics
Rosetta Genomics said this week that it has struck an agreement with the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine to work together to validate diagnostic tests based on the company’s microRNA technology.
Under the agreement, the CLIA-certified medical school and the company will work together to validate tests that are designed to differentiate squamous from non-squamous lung cancer and to differentiate mesothelioma from adenocarcinoma, as well as to identify cancers of unknown primary origin.
Rosetta Genomics, which is based in Rehovot, Israel, and has operations in Jersey City, NJ, also said it expects to launch three microRNA diagnostic tests in clinical laboratories sometime this year.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Loma Linda U Wins $594K NSF Grant to Market Techs from Southern California Universities
The National Science Foundation has awarded Loma Linda University a three-year, $594,000 Partnership for Innovation grant to lead a consortium in developing a model for marketing research discoveries from southern California universities.
Larta Institute, a non-profit commercialization assistance corporation based in Los Angeles, will be the lead private partner in the consortium. Larta founded a program called Network T2, in which tech-transfer offices from regional universities and research institutions collaborate to “overcome challenges to technology commercialization,” Larta said.
The title of the project is “Inter-University Technology Bundling Project.” It builds on a pilot program called Virtual Bundling Agent developed by Larta between 2005 and 2007, in which related intellectual property from Network T2 members was bundled and presented to the private sector.
That pilot project was supported by an award for an undisclosed amount from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Larta said.
Regional academic and research institutions participating in the program include: California State Polytechnic Institute-Pomona, California Institute of Technology, California State University-San Bernardino, California State University- Fullerton, California State University-Los Angeles, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, City of Hope, Claremont College's Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Science, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, Pepperdine University, University of California-Irvine, University of California-Los Angeles, University of California-Riverside, University of California-San Diego, San Diego State University, University of California-Santa Barbara, University of California-Santa Cruz, and University of Southern California.

OHSU Spinout Znomics Licenses Zebrafish Obesity Model from School
Znomics, a spinout of the Oregon Health and Science University, has launched a program to find lead drug compounds for the treatment of obesity.
The new program will be based on a genetic model of obesity using the zebrafish developed in the laboratory of Znomics co-founder and OHSU professor Roger Cone. Znomics has obtained an exclusive biological license to the technology from OHSU.
Under the direction of Stephane Berghmans, director of drug discovery at Znomics, the company intends to refine the obesity model for use in the screening of small molecule compounds. Znomics said it aims to identify pre-clinical drug candidates for obesity and to partner with a pharmaceutical or biotechnology company to advance those candidates into human clinical studies.
Financial terms of the agreement between Znomics and OHSU were not disclosed.

Buck Institute and Q Therapeutics to Develop Parkinson’s Research Tools
The Buck Institute for Age Research and Q Therapeutics this week announced a collaboration to develop cell-based tools for discovering Parkinson’s disease therapies.
Under the agreement, the Buck Institute and Q Therapeutics will use their expertise in differentiating stem cells to provide key cell types needed to study Parkinson’s disease.
These neural-lineage cell lines will be used to further research aimed at the use of various stem and progenitor cells as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s.
Additional terms were not disclosed.

City of Hope to Use Helicos Sequencing Tech for Cancer Study
Researchers at the City of Hope research and treatment center in Duarte, Calif., will use Helicos BioSciences’ single-molecule sequencing technology to evaluate known cancer-associated gene variants and potentially discover new mutations within those genes, Helicos said this week.
Helicos said that its True Single Molecule Sequencing technology enables researchers to analyze billions of single molecules simultaneously, allowing direct measurement of the “large sample numbers required to assess the frequency of gene variants within a population of individuals or within a tumor.”
A City of Hope spokesperson said that Helicos is conducting the review of the technology for the specified application.
One of City of Hope’s goals of the collaboration will be to develop molecular diagnostics based on its findings, according to the partners.
“Our potential to personalize the treatment of cancer will be directly dependent on our ability to understand the genetic variation among individual patients as well as the genetic heterogeneity of their tumor genomes,” Steve Sommer, director of the department of molecular genetics and director of the department of molecular diagnosis at City of Hope, said in a statement.
Further terms of the alliance were not disclosed.

BU’s ITEC Announces Business Plan Competition Winners
The Institute for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization at Boston University this week announced the winners of its 2008 $50K Business Plan Competition.
The first place winner was Essense Medical, headed by BU engineering PhD student Roberto Reif, along with three management school students. Essense is developing disposable medical tools that can diagnose and treat cancer in real time while reducing the need for biopsies.
The second place winner was RemesaTel, which seeks to help Mexican citizens in the US and Mexico by providing access to credit and trading opportunities through mobile text messaging.
The third place winner was AutoNAIS, which is developing alternatives to DNA sample preparation based on technology developed at BU.
Individual award amounts were not disclosed.

UT System Awards $65K in ‘Ignition’ Grants to Develop University Technologies
The University of Texas system last week announced the winners of Texas Ignition Fund grants totaling $465,000 to help commercialize early-stage university-based research projects.
Money for this first round of grants comes from a $2 million fund approved by the UT System Board of Regents in December to speed commercialization of products created at UT system institutions.
Each of the 14 winning proposals was awarded grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000, UT said. A full list of the winning proposals can be seen here.

New USPTO Pilot Program to Provide Pre-Office Action Interviews for Patent Applicants
The US Patent and Trademark Office this week said that it is initiating a six-month pilot program that will allow an applicant to have an interview with the patent examiner prior to the first office action on the merits of a new utility application.
The pilot program is expected to expedite prosecution of the new patent application by enhancing the interaction between the applicant and the examiner, providing the applicant an opportunity to resolve patentability issues one-on-one at the beginning of the review process, USPTO said.
Under the program, which will start on April 28, the examiner will conduct a prior art search and provide the applicant with a pre-interview communication, which is a condensed preview of objections or rejections proposed against the claims.
Within 30 days from the issue date of the pre-interview communication, the applicant must either choose not to have a first action interview with the examiner, or schedule the interview and file a proposed amendment and/or remarks, USPTO said.
The pilot is currently limited to two technology areas in order to evaluate the program: applications classified in Class 709 (electrical computers and digital processing systems: multi-computer data transferring); and applications in Class 707 (data processing: database and file management or data structures).

The Scan

Genes Linked to White-Tailed Jackrabbits' Winter Coat Color Change

Climate change, the researchers noted in Science, may lead to camouflage mismatch and increase predation of white-tailed jackrabbits.

Adenine Base Editor Targets SCID Mutation in New Study

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, report in Cell that adenine base editing was able to produce functional T lymphocytes in a model of severe combined immune deficiency.

Researchers Find Gene Affecting Alkaline Sensitivity in Plants

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science have found a locus affecting alkaline-salinity sensitivity, which could aid in efforts to improve crop productivity, as they report in Science.

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.