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Quantum Genomics, Inserm, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, MDMA, Arrow International, JHU, Datascope, BU ITEC, GNS, M2Gen

Quantum Genomics Partners with France’s Inserm, CNRS on Hypertension Drug
Quantum Genomics last week announced a drug-development partnership with France’s Inserm and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in the area of metabolic and cardiovascular disease.
Specifically, the agreement covers a lead molecule derived from discoveries made in the laboratories of Catherine Llorens-Cortes, director of Inserm Unit 691, based in the Collège de France; and Bernard Roques, a researcher at Inserm Unit 640, based in the University of Paris Descartes.
Under the terms of the agreement, QGC, of Jersey City, NJ, has acquired the rights to three patents and know-how related to the small molecule, while Inserm and CNRS will work on the drug’s physiopathology, chemistry, and mechanism of action. QGC will subsequently handle preclinical and clinical development and regulatory aspects.
The lead molecule, QGC001, acts to facilitate control of blood pressure in patients who are resistant to currently available anti-hypertension drugs, QGC said. The company expects to begin clinical trials in humans in 2008.

MDMA, New Hampshire Contingent Join Opposition to Patent Reform Act
The Medical Devices Manufacturers Association and a private-public New Hampshire-based contingent last week joined the growing list of organizations opposed to the Patent Reform Act of 2007, currently under bi-cameral review in the US Congress.
In a letter sent to key members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, MDMA representatives said that the Patent Reform Act would “hinder innovation across the diverse sectors of the American economy we represent, including academia, agriculture, alternative energy, biotechnology, chemical, electronics, environmental technology, financial services, information technology, life sciences, nanotechnology, and telecommunications.”
Specifically, the letter highlights three shared areas of concern: language pertaining to the apportionment of damages, the creation of an open-ended post-grant review process, and the granting of unprecedented rulemaking authority for the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Other signatories of the letter include the Biotechnology Industry Organization, Innovation Alliance, NanoBusiness Alliance, CropLife America, Association of University Technology Managers, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Small Business Technology Council, and Center for Small Business and the Environment.
Separately last week, a contingent of public and private entities based in the state of New Hampshire announced that it also participated in the issuance of the letter. The New Hampshire-based contingent included AmberWave Systems, the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development, Dartmouth Regional Technology Center, the New Hampshire Biotechnology Council, the University of New Hampshire, and SmoothShapes.

Arrow International, JHU Win Patent Infringement Suit Against Datascope
Arrow International said last week that a judgment was awarded to Johns Hopkins University and Arrow in their patent infringement lawsuit against Datascope, on June 15, in the United States District Court in Baltimore, Md.
Johns Hopkins and Arrow had brought suit against Datascope for infringing patents relating to the Arrow-Trerotola Percutaneous Thrombolytic Device, used to treat hemodialysis patients.
The Baltimore jury found that the Datascope ProLumen device infringed three patents owned by JHU and licensed by Arrow, and upheld their validity. The jury also awarded damages amounting to an 18 percent royalty on Datascope’s sales of the infringing device.
JHU and Arrow have asked the court to issue a permanent injunction against Datascope’s sales of the ProLumen.

BU’s ITEC Launches ‘Innovation Incubator’
The Institute for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization at Boston University School of Management and the Boston University Office of Technology Development last week announced the establishment of the Entrepreneurial Research Laboratory.
BU’s ITEC said that the new ERL is a ‘living laboratory’ for entrepreneurial sciences. The ERL provides incubator space in the BU Discovery Innovation Center and mentoring and networking opportunities to outstanding BU students or recent alumni, in exchange for the entrepreneur’s active participation in ITEC educational activities.
The first ERL participant, Brandan Johnson, president of Boston Microfluidics, and a 2004 graduate of BU’s biomedical engineering undergraduate program, is developing a device that reduces the time it takes to test for sexually transmitted diseases, BU said.

GNS Pens Cancer Rx-Dx-Development Alliance With Moffitt Subsidiary M2Gen
Gene Network Sciences said last week that it will use its REFSTM software in an alliance with H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center subsidiary M2Gen to develop cancer diagnostics and therapeutics.
GNS will use REFSTM, which stands for reverse engineering and forward simulation, to reverse-engineer computer models from de-identified tumor molecular profiling data provided by Moffitt.
Researchers will use the models to identify genes that cause cancer progression, and the relationships between those genes and endpoints such as recurrence and survival.
The parties will “work together to validate the discoveries and will work with strategic partners to rapidly bring the diagnostics to market,” GNS said in a statement.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The Scan

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.

Study Presents New Insights Into How Cancer Cells Overcome Telomere Shortening

Researchers report in Nucleic Acids Research that ATRX-deficient cancer cells have increased activity of the alternative lengthening of telomeres pathway.

Researchers Link Telomere Length With Alzheimer's Disease

Within UK Biobank participants, longer leukocyte telomere length is associated with a reduced risk of dementia, according to a new study in PLOS One.

Nucleotide Base Detected on Near-Earth Asteroid

Among other intriguing compounds, researchers find the nucleotide uracil, a component of RNA sequences, in samples collected from the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, as they report in Nature Communications.