Oxford Biomedica Licenses RNAi Tech from Carnegie Institute, UMMS
Gene therapy company Oxford Biomedica said this week that it has licensed the rights for RNA interference technology from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the Carnegie Institute of Washington.
According to the agreement, Oxford Biomedica receives non-exclusive rights under the Carnegie and UMSS licensing programs for the RNAi technology and exclusive rights for the technology’s gene therapy applications using lentiviral vectors.
Oxford Biomedica’s therapeutic vaccine and gene-based therapy programs are focused on oncology and neurotherapy.
Oxford Biomedica will provide an upfront payment, annual maintenance fees, milestone payments, and royalties on sales, the company said.
Further financial terms of the agreement were not released.
Bioinformatics Startup Takes Exclusive License to Software from U of Houston
The University of Houston said this week that it has exclusively licensed a set of bioinformatics software tools to startup Eureka Genomics.
Eureka Genomics is a University of Houston spinoff that was founded last year. The company is developing bioinformatics products for use in healthcare, agriculture, pathogen surveillance, and other biotechnology applications.
The university said that the software tools, which were developed by UH associate professor Yuriy Fofanov and colleagues, have applications in personalized medicine, pathogen detection, and next-generation sequencing. The university said in a statement that the tools can be used as “building blocks” for “a variety of applications requiring advanced genomic sequence analysis,” but did not provide further details.
The University’s Center for Industrial Partnerships arranged the licensing agreement.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
BioTime Licenses hESC IP Portfolio from WARF
Medical technology firm BioTime this week said it has licensed a human embryonic stem cell technology patent portfolio from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.
Under the terms of the agreement, BioTime has taken a license to 173 patents and patent applications filed internationally relating to hESC technology developed by University of Wisconsin professor James Thomson.
BioTime develops blood plasma volume expanders and has recently entered the field of regenerative medicine through its wholly owned subsidiary, Embryome Sciences, through which it plans to develop new medical and research products using hESC technology.
BioTime’s CEO is Michael West, the founder of Geron, and one of the earliest supporters of Thomson’s hESC research.
WARF said that with this most recent agreement, it has completed 23 licensing agreements for stem cell technologies with 17 companies.
Startup Eucalyptus Licenses Small Molecule from Israeli Institutions
Yissum, the tech-transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said this week that it has licensed an orally available small molecule for several biological indications, including the treatment of neurodegenerative disease, to biotech firm Eucalyptus.
The molecule, an antioxidant that crosses the blood-brain barrier, was developed by Daphne Atlas, professor of neurochemistry at the Hebrew University; Daniel Offen, a researcher at Tel Aviv University in Israel; and Eldad Melamed, professor and chairman of neurology at the Rabin Medical Center in Israel.
Under the terms of the agreement, Eucalyptus has acquired worldwide exclusive rights to develop and commercialize the molecule.
In return, Yissum, along with Ramot, the tech-transfer arm of Tel-Aviv Univeristy; and Mor Research Applications, the tech-transfer arm of Clalit Health Services, will receive undisclosed upfront payments, milestone payments, and royalties on sales of future products.
Eucalyptus, based in San Francisco, was founded by Ashley Bush, an associate professor of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The company is primarily focused on developing medical applications based on glutathione chemistry to treat brain diseases and psychiatric disorders.
MIT Spinout Tempo Pharma Closes $8.1M Financing Round
Tempo Pharmaceuticals last week said that it has closed an $8.1 million Series B financing, the proceeds of which will accelerate development of its preclinical pipeline of multi-compartmental, nanoparticle-based drugs.
Existing venture investors Polaris Venture Partners, Venrock, and Lux Capital were joined by Bessemer Venture Partners in the round. Also participating were Alexandria Real Estate Equities and existing investor William Rastetter, former executive chairman of Biogen Idec and a partner at Venrock.
Tempo’s core technology is exclusively licensed from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Tempo previously closed a $12.1 million Series A round in May 2007, and a $2 million seed round in December 2006.
BrainStorm Expands Pact with Rutgers to Develop Spinal Cord Injury Treatments
BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics said this week that it has expanded its collaboration with Rutgers University to develop spinal cord injury treatments using BrainStorm’s adult stem cell technologies.
The spinal cord injury project will be the first focus of the WM Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers. Keck Center director Martin Grumet will lead the Rutgers research team in the collaboration.
BrainStorm holds the rights to develop and commercialize autologous bone marrow cells for treating neurodegenerative disease developed at Tel Aviv University in Israel.
Helicos Teams with UMass Researcher on miRNA Analysis Methods
Helicos BioSciences said this week that it is collaborating with a researcher at the University of Massachusetts to develop an assay that will characterize known species of microRNAs and discover new non-coding RNAs.
The company said it is partnering with Victor Ambros of UMass Medical School’s Molecular Medicine program to use its True Single Molecule Sequencing technology for the assay.
Ambros is known for discovering the Lin-4 miRNA while researching developmental timing in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans. His current research includes miRNA studies focused on development and gene regulation, including mechanisms that control cell division, differentiation, and morphogenesis.
NCBC Grants $100K to Develop Med Tech in North Carolina
The North Carolina Biotechnology Center has awarded a $100,000 grant to a consortium coordinated by NCBIO to begin Phase I planning for a Center of Innovation in Advanced Medical Technologies.
Universities and regional economic development entities across the state submitted the grant application through NCBIO late last year to fund establishment of an organizational structure and business plan focusing on the state’s advanced medical technologies sector.
If the resulting plan is completed and approved by the NCBC within a year, the new center of innovation would receive a four-year, $2.5 million Phase 2 grant to begin supporting commercialization of new medical technologies and recruitment and expansion of companies developing these products, NCBIO said.