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Regulus Therapeutics, Inhibitex, Cardiff University, Katholieke Universiteit, LabNow, Sammons Enterprises, University of Texas, Chromatin, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Chicago

Regulus Says US Patent Office to Issue miRNA Patent Related to HCV
Regulus Therapeutics, a joint venture between Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Isis Pharmaceuticals, said last week that the US Patent and Trademark Office has issued a notice of allowance for a patent application related to targeting a specific microRNA to inhibit hepatitis C and originally filed by Stanford University.
The patent application, No. 20050288245, is entitled “Methods and Compositions for Reducing Viral Genome Amounts in a Cell.” Regulus is developing a drug targeting miR-122 as a treatment for HCV.
Regulus acquired the rights to the patent application when Alnylam and Isis co-exclusively licensed it and other miRNA-related IP from Stanford in 2005.
Alnylam and Isis exclusively licensed all their IP related to therapeutic uses of miRNAs to Regulus when the new company was formed earlier this year.

Inhibitex Acquires License to HCV Polymerase Inhibitors from Welsh, Belgian Universities
Inhibitex said last week that it has entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with Cardiff University in Wales, UK, and Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven, Belgium, for intellectual property covering a series of hepatitis C polymerase inhibitors.
The universities will receive an undisclosed upfront licensing fee, future milestone payments, and royalties on future net sales, Inhibitex said. Further financial details were not disclosed.
The licensed compounds include a series of nucleoside analogs that inhibit NS5b, and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase that is a critical enzyme in the HCV lifecycle, Inhibitex said.
The compounds were discovered in the laboratories of Chris McGuigan, chairman of the departmental research committee, director of research, and head of medicinal chemistry at Cardiff University; and Johan Neyts, laboratory of virology and chemotherapy at the Rega Institute for Medical Research at Katholieke Universiteit.

LabNow Closes $20M Financing Round to Commercialize Biochip Tech Developed at UT-Austin
LabNow, a developer of point-of-care diagnostic systems, last week said that it has raised $20 million in Series B financing from a syndicate of private and venture investors led by Dallas-based Sammons Enterprises.
The funds will be used to complete the late-stage development and launch of the company’s initial products, the CD4NowT BioChip and Analyzer devices, which will be used to stage and monitor the treatments of HIV/AIDS patients worldwide, LabNow said.
The underlying technology was developed in the laboratory of John McDevitt of the University of Texas at Austin, and has been exclusively licensed to LabNow for all applications.
In 2006, McDevitt was awarded a $6 million grant from National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to study other saliva-based medical uses for the platform. The results of that research will be made available to LabNow for commercialization, the company said.

U of Chicago Spinout Chromatin Moves to IIT Technology Park
Chromatin, a developer of technology for the agricultural, energy, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries, said recently that it will move its headquarters to the Technology Business Center at the University Technology Park at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Chromatin develops and markets proprietary technology that was first developed at the University of Chicago. The technology enables the company to design and incorporate entire chromosomes into plant cells. The mini-chromosomes can be used to deliver genes for multiple applications.

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.