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Perlegen and Cambridge U; Alte and Duke; Grant Life Sciences; LES Credential Program and ‘Deals of Distinction;’ Mayo Clinic and U of Chicago; Emergence and ExThera; DuPont and UTEK; Stevens Institute

Perlegen Licenses Breast Cancer Markers from Cambridge University
Perlegen Sciences said last week that it has licensed certain breast cancer biomarkers from Cambridge Enterprise Limited, the commercial arm of Cambridge University, and plans to commercialize the markers as a diagnostic test.
The agreement stems from a large-scale breast cancer study Perlegen, Cambridge, and Cancer Research UK began in 2005 that genotyped more than 50,000 women.
The study, published in Nature in June, identified certain breast cancer susceptibility markers that are present in roughly 20 percent of breast cancer cases in the UK. The company said this compares favorably to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are used as diagnostic markers but occur in less than 5 percent of breast cancer cases.
The more common risk alleles identified in the Cambridge study “confer somewhat less overall risk than other described markers,” Perlegen said in a statement, but they double breast cancer risk in cases where there are two copies of the variants versus those with none.
Perlegen said it plans to market the diagnostic assay either directly or through a sub-license with a third party, and Cambridge University and partner Cancer Research Technology will receive a share of any financial returns, the company said.
Cambridge University reserves the right to provide non-commercial licenses to academic researchers.

Alte Biosciences Licenses Age-Related Depression Drugs from Duke
Alte Bioscience last week said that it has exclusively licensed intellectual property from Duke University related to novel therapeutics targeting late-onset depression and related disorders.
The licensed technology is a patent based on findings by Ranga Krishnan, professor and chair of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center.
Specifically, Krishnan identified a relationship between cerebrovascular disease and the onset of depression in elderly individuals, a disease called vascular depression.
Alte’s immediate focus will be conducting the regulatory studies needed to advance the lead candidate, ARX-111, into a clinical proof of concept study within the next 12 months, Thomas Colatsky, Alte’s CSO, said in a statement.
ARX-111 is the first drug candidate to be developed by Alte, the company said.
Vascular depression is related to ischemia occurring in the subcortical regions of the brain and is typically associated with poor outcomes to conventional antidepressant therapy. Late onset depression affects 6 million people in the US, Alte said.

Grant Life Sciences Licenses HPV ELISA from Russian Scientists
Grant Life Sciences, a diagnostic shop focusing on women’s health, infectious disease, and cancer, has licensed technology that is complementary to its antibody-based test for detecting cervical cancer from two Russian scientists, the company said last week.
Grant licensed intellectual property associated with technology developed by Peter Sveshnikov and Vsevolod Kiselev of the Russian Federation with funding from the US State Department’s Bio-Industry Initiative (BII) program.
The BII is designed to fuel medical and other biological research and development in the former Soviet Union by converting former biowarfare scientists to productive peacetime activities.
Sveshnikov and Kiselev have developed an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay to detect specific cancer-causing proteins from the human papillomavirus — the obligate cause of cervical cancer — within the cervical mucous and cells that make up liquid-based Pap samples.
The test utilizes certain monoclonal antibodies against these cancer-causing HPV proteins for detection.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

LES Announces Certified Licensing Professional Credential Program
The Licensing Executives Society last week launched a certification program for the intellectual property licensing profession.
The program, called the Certified Licensing Professional, will offer an opportunity for IP licensing executives to earn a credential to validate their expertise and experience to employers, licensing partners, and other professionals with whom they interact, LES said.
LES made the announcement during its annual meeting in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
To become a CLP, candidates must meet requirements in three areas:
·         Education – Bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited university.
·         Experience – At least three years of professional-level experience involving the development, use, transfer, marketing, and/or management of IP within the past eight years.
·         Knowledge – Pass the CLP examination.
The CLP exam will include 175 to 200 multiple choice questions on subject areas including legal, intellectual asset management, valuation, negotiation and ethics, and licensing.
Initially, experienced licensing professionals (at least five years of professional-level experience in licensing) will have an opportunity to earn the CLP credential without taking the exam based on their existing experience and education, LES said. This “grandfathering” provision is available to professionals who apply for the CLP credential and pay a $495 fee by December 31, 2007.

Mayo Clinic, U of Chicago Win LES ‘Deal of Distinction’ Award for Cancer Dx
The Licensing Executives Society last week presented Deals of Distinction Awards to winners in five industry sectors to recognize the best examples of facilitating transfer of IP to help “establish the value for innovation,” LES said.
The awards were given at the LES Annual Meeting in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
In the ‘Industry/University and Government Laboratory Transactions Sector,’ the Deal of Distinction award was made to “The UGT1A1 Human Gene Diagnostics Licensing Program,” between Mayo Clinic and the University of Chicago.
In late 2005, Mayo Clinic inked an IP deal with the University of Chicago for the UGT1A1 test to predict a patient’s risk of side effects from chemotherapy. The test was developed and patented by Mark Ratain and colleagues at the University of Chicago, and specifically provides information on which patients possess a genetic variant that alters the metabolism of irinotecan HCl (Camptosar), a key component of the standard first-line treatment for advanced colon cancer and others.
Mayo acquired an exclusive license to the technology, and began offering the test to patients at Mayo and also those served nationwide through its reference laboratory, Mayo Medical Laboratories. The exclusive license included the right to sub-license, and Mayo actively pursued and subsequently completed sub-license agreements with other academic medical centers, reference laboratories, diagnostic test companies, and pharmaceutical companies to ensure that patients everywhere had access the test.
Other “Deals of Distinction” award winners included:
·         Consumer Products Sector: “The J&J Acquisition of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare,” between Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer
·         Chemicals, Energy, and Materials Sector: “The Licensing of LSV Burners for Ethylene Manufacture,” between Air Products and Chemicals, the John Zink Company, and affiliates of the Technip Group.
·         Health Care Sector: “The Global Partnership on Hematide (erythropoiesis-stimulating agent),” between Affymax and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company.
·         High Technology Sector: “The F-16 Technical Manual Viewer Deal,” between Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and Jouve Aviation Solutions, as facilitated by Fluid Innovation Group.

Emergence to Co-Own, Incubate Startup ExThera Medical from Karolinska Institute
Emergence LLC, a life science incubator based in the Temescal Business Park of Berkeley, Calif., and ExThera AB, a technology transfer partner of Karolinska Institute, last week announced the formation of a 50/50 joint venture company called ExThera Medical.
ExThera Medical's extracorporeal affinity therapy technology uses immobilized, biologically active carbohydrates to remove pathogenic microorganisms, proteins, and cells directly from blood. The first clinical application is expected to be the treatment of sepsis within intensive care units.
In addition, the technology may also be useful in the treatment or prevention of a variety of other bloodborne diseases, Emergence and ExThera said.
The technology is based on research conduced by Olle Larm, a professor at Karolinska Institute. ExThera Medical will be headquartered in Berkeley.

DuPont and UTEK Ink Tech-Transfer Agreement
DuPont said recently that it has signed agreements with tech-transfer firm UTEK to search for technologies for transfer to DuPont and to actively market DuPont’s technologies and expertise to UTEK’s customer base.
Under the first agreement, UTEK will search for appropriate technologies, primarily from university and laboratory research centers, for possible transfer to DuPont’s bio-based technology division.
Under the second agreement, UTEK will make available DuPont technologies to UTEK’s customer base for a five-year period. UTEK clients will have a 30-day right-to-first negotiate to review and evaluate any of the technologies deemed relevant to their search criteria by UTEK and DuPont, UTEK said.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Stevens Institute of Technology Mulls South Korean Tech Park
Stevens Institute of Technology and the South Korean city of Pyeongtaek are exploring the establishment of a “university city” and high technology park in Pyeongtaek, Stevens Institute said last week.
As part of a memorandum of understanding, Stevens Institute, based in Hoboken, NJ, agrees to explore the establishment of a graduate school and research enters in the Pyeongtaek University City. Stevens is also agreeing to work to attract other universities and high-tech companies to the site.

The new venture is expected to open in two to three years. The South Korean government has approved a $100 million, privately funded Pyeongtaek University City.

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.