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Repligen, University of Michigan, Harvard University, Merck, Lentigen, University of Cambridge, GCH Capital Partners, University of Geneva, PhycoBiologics, NIAID, Vical, BioChemics, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, International Stem Cell Corporation

Repligen, University of Michigan Settle Infringement Lawsuit with BMS
Repligen this week said that it has reached a settlement with Bristol-Myers Squibb in its lawsuit alleging infringement of US Patent No. 6,685,941, based on BMS’ sale of Orencia for treating rheumatoid arthritis.
The University of Michigan, a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit, and the US Department of the Navy co-own the patent, which is exclusively licensed to Repligen.
Terms of the settlement call for BMS to make an initial payment of $5 million and to pay royalties on the US net sales of Orencia for any clinical indication at a rate of 1.8 percent for the first $500 million of annual sales; 2 percent for the next $500 million; and 4 percent of US annual sales in excess of $1 billion each year from 2008 to 2013.
The settlement also provides an exclusive worldwide license for the technology to BMS from Repligen and the University of Michigan, and serves as the basis for dismissal of the lawsuit.

Harvard and Merck Ink Sponsored Research, Licensing Pact for Osteoporosis
Harvard University’s Office of Technology Development said this week that it has signed a multi-year license and sponsored research agreement with Merck to develop new therapies for treating osteoporosis.
Under the agreement, Merck will fund ongoing research in the laboratory of Laurie Glimcher, professor of immunology at Harvard School of Public Health, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Harvard will also grant Merck a license to specific molecules that may arise from the project.
Financial details were not disclosed.
Glomcher’s research has elucidated the role of a recently identified “adaptor protein” that regulates the growth of osteoblasts that are responsible for bone formation. The Merck-Harvard collaboration will build on this and subsequent discoveries and seek to identify compounds that can intervene in this pathway to enhance the growth of osteoblasts in humans.

Lentigen Licenses Key Lentivirus Patents from University of Cambridge
Lentigen has exclusively licensed a fundamental patent in the area of lentiviral vector technology from the University of Cambridge in the UK.
The technology, developed in the laboratory of University of Cambridge professor Andrew Lever, broadly claims fundamental compositions of HIV-based lentiviral vectors that are currently widely used in research and clinical studies, Boro Dropulic, founder, president, and CSO of Lentigen, said in a statement.
Lentigen said that the new license “further consolidates” its intellectual property position after majority shareholder GBP Capital acquired a lentiviral patent portfolio from Cell Genesys last year.
Financial details of the licensing deal were not disclosed.

GCH Capital to Commercialize U of Geneva, PhycoBiologics Hydrogen Bioproduction Tech
GCH Capital Partners, a capital pool company based in Vancouver, BC, Canada, said last week that it has acquired the rights to an inducible chloroplast gene expression technology jointly owned by the University of Geneva in Switzerland and Richard Wagner, president of Indiana-based biotech firm PhycoBiologics.
GCH said that pursuant to the agreement, it has entered into contracts with a new management team to develop and commercialize the technology, which provides a controlled method for turning on and off genes in the chloroplast that are responsible for photosynthesis, resulting in the continuous production of hydrogen gas.
According to the company, the technology represents “a significant step toward the sustainable and biological production of hydrogen,” and can also be used for the controlled expression of recombinant proteins.

NIAID Awards Vical $2M STTR Grant to Develop HSV-2 Vaccine with UW and UT Medical
Vical said last week that it has been awarded a two-year, $2 million Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to fund the ongoing development of Vical’s immunotherapeutic plasmid DNA vaccine against herpes simplex virus type 2.
Vical said that it will evaluate the HSV-2 vaccine with its Vaxfectin adjuvant technology. The University of Washington School of Medicine and University of Texas Medical Branch will conduct initial preclinical development activities covered by the STTR grant.
David Koelle, professor of medicine in the division of allergy and infectious diseases at the UW School of Medicine will lead a mouse research phase of the grant.
The $2 million Phase II grant supplements a $300,000 Phase I STTR grant awarded to Vical in 2005, the company said.

BioChemics and Beth Israel Partner on Wound-Healing Research
BioChemics has entered into a research collaboration with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to evaluate the wound-healing effects of some of the company’s proprietary formulations in clinical models, BioChemics said this week.
BioChemics has developed a transdermal drug-delivery system based on vaso-active lipid encapsulation technology.
Additional terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.

International Stem Cell Corp to Study Parthenogenetic Cells with U of Cambridge
International Stem Cell Corporation said this week that it has formed a research collaboration with the University of Cambridge to expand scientific data relating to parthenogenetic stem cells.
Roger Pedersen, professor of regenerative medicine at Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, will lead the research project, which will assess imprinted gene expression and DNA methylation on the cells.
Additional terms were not disclosed.

U of Manchester Spinout Myconostica Raises $7.7M to Develop Molecular Dx for Fungal Infections
Myconostica, a University of Manchester spinout company developing a molecular diagnostic test for infectious diseases, has raised £3.9 million ($7.7 million) at £40 per share in the second close of a Series C financing round, bringing the total money raised in the round to £4.4 million.
Myconostica is a partner company of Amphion Innovations, a UK-based medical and technology business-development firm. Amphion owns approximately 25 percent of Myconostica. Nexus Medical Partners in the US, Innoven Partenaires in France, and several other UK and international investors joined Amphion in the round.
Myconostica is developing a series of real-time molecular diagnostic tests for life-threatening fungal infections.
The capital raised in this round will support the launch and marketing of the company’s first products, FXG: RESP, a test for aspergillus and pneumocystis; and associated fungal DNA-extraction system called MycXtra; and further tests targeting other infections.

Novartis to Help AspenBio Pharma Develop WUSTL Bovine Reproductive Tech
AspenBio Pharma has entered into a “long-term” exclusive licensing and commercialization deal with Novartis Animal Health for the development and launch of AspenBio’s recombinant single-chain bovine products, BoviPure LH and BoviPure FSH, for increasing pregnancy rates in dairy cows.
The license agreement with Novartis provides for sharing of product development activities, development and registration costs, and worldwide product sales. AspenBio receives an upfront cash payment and ongoing royalties based upon net direct product margins as defined and specified under the agreement. AspenBio has agreed to fund its share of 35 percent of the product development and registration costs.
AspenBio licensed this single-chain technology from Washington University in St. Louis for use in all animal species. Irving Boime, a professor of developmental biology at Washington University School of Medicine, developed the technology over the past 15 years, AspenBio said.
Terms of the original license between AspenBio and WUSTL have not been disclosed.

The Scan

Study Tracks Responses in Patients Pursuing Polygenic Risk Score Profiling

Using interviews, researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics qualitatively assess individuals' motivations for, and experiences with, direct-to-consumer polygenic risk score testing.

EHR Quality Improvement Study Detects Demographic-Related Deficiencies in Cancer Family History Data

In a retrospective analysis in JAMA Network Open, researchers find that sex, ethnicity, language, and other features coincide with the quality of cancer family history information in a patient's record.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Linked to Gut Microbiome Community Structure Gradient in Meta-Analysis

Bringing together data from prior studies, researchers in Genome Biology track down microbial taxa and a population structure gradient with ties to ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.

Ancient Greek Army Ancestry Highlights Mercenary Role in Historical Migrations

By profiling genomic patterns in 5th century samples from in and around Himera, researchers saw diverse ancestry in Greek army representatives in the region, as they report in PNAS.