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Tech Transfer Tidbits: Apr 8, 2009


ImmuneRegen and U of Rochester to Study Pulmonary Fibrosis Rx

ImmuneRegen Biosciences said this week that it will collaborate with a researcher at the University of Rochester to explore the use of Homspera, ImmuneRegen's adult stem cell-active compound, against pulmonary fibrosis.

Under the agreement, ImmuneRegen, a subsidiary of IR Biosciences Holdings, will collaborate with Jacob Finkelstein, a professor of pediatrics, radiation oncology, and environmental medicine at the UR Medical School.

Finkelstein, who is also a project leader at UR's Center for Biophysical Assessment and Risk Management Following Irradiation, will conduct research to evaluate Homspera's ability to mitigate the effects of otherwise lethal radiation exposure in animals.

Finkelstein's lab studies the mechanisms of pulmonary injury to physiological, toxicological, and radiological stimuli, and specifically the role of the alveolar epithelium.

Of particular interest to both ImmuneRegen and Finkelstein are the mechanisms by which exposure to sufficient doses of radiation triggers pulmonary fibrosis, ImmuneRegen said.

Homspera, an analog of the endogenous neurokinin Substance P, has been shown to affect a number of immunological and non-immunological cell types by binding the neurokinin-1 receptor; to stimulate hematopoietic stem cells; and to have immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory activity in model systems.

Rutgers Licenses Biomaterials IP Portfolio to Trident Biomedical

Rutgers University has licensed a portfolio of more than 50 biomaterial patents and patent applications covering polymers for medical applications to Trident Biomedical, the school said this week.

The portfolio is based on the inventions of Joachim Kohn, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers, and his students, over the past 20 years, Rutgers said.

The patents cover polymer-based biomaterials that safely degrade predominantly into naturally occurring nutrients and metabolites within the body. The biomaterials have the potential to improve upon existing therapies in a broad range of medical applications including orthopedics, tissue regeneration, surgery, infection prevention, and drug delivery.

Trident has raised $1.26 million in a first round of financing to fund the development of products based on the technology. Trident was assisted in its financing round by Conexus Capital Advisors, a NJ-based financial advisory firm. Robert Marcus, chairman of the NJ law firm of Norris McLaughlin and Marcus, will serve as chairman of Trident's board.

Trident will continue to work closely with Kohn, who is also director of the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials at Rutgers, to conduct initial research and development necessary to commercialize the technologies, Rutgers said.

Financial details of the licensing deal were not disclosed.

Transgenomic Licenses Cold-PCR Method from Dana-Farber

Transgenomic said this week that it has completed an option to license a method known as cold-PCR from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Invented by Dana-Farber researcher Mike Makrigiorgios, cold-PCR is a variation of standard PCR technology that enriches mutations in samples where normal DNA predominates.

Makrigiorgios has demonstrated that the method can enrich mutations in cancer-related genes in samples where DNA sequencing cannot detect very low concentrations of somatic DNA mutation, according to Transgenomic.

The Omaha, Neb.-based firm said that the technology could potentially increase the sensitivity of its Wave DHPLC and Surveyor Nuclease products for detecting mutations in cancer and mitochondrial disease.

Transgenomic also said that the technology could enable clinicians to use less intrusive methods for genetic analysis or allow for more efficient use of tumor tissue samples.

Financial terms of the option agreement were not disclosed.

OncoVista and UTHSCSA CTRC Collaborate on Solid Tumor Rx Studies

OncoVista Innovative Therapeutics and the Cancer Therapy and Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio will collaborate on early-phase studies of OncoVista's solid tumor therapy, OncoVista said this week.

Under the agreement, OncoVista will work with researchers at the CTRC's Institute for Drug Development to conduct early-stage studies of OVI-117, an L-nucleoside conjugate of 5-fluorodeoxyuridine monophosphate, and analog of 5-FU, in various solid tumor cancer indications.

This research is in addition to an ongoing Phase I/II study of cordycepin plus penostatin in patients with refractory TdT-positive leukemia at the CTRC and sponsored by OncoVista.

University of Florida Spinouts to Present at Innovation Showcase

The University of Florida will host its third annual Celebration of Innovation Showcase next week.

The conference, to be held April 14 at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center, will feature 16 start-up companies based on UF research in the areas of medicine, life sciences, and other technology.

Each company will present its mission and technology to investors and entrepreneurs. The conference will also feature keynote addresses from prominent venture capitalists, and an overview of technology opportunities at UF by David Day, director of the UF Office of Technology Licensing, and Jane Muir, associate director of the OTL.

Additional information on the conference can be found here.

The Scan

Genetic Ancestry of South America's Indigenous Mapuche Traced

Researchers in Current Biology analyzed genome-wide data from more than five dozen Mapuche individuals to better understand their genetic history.

Study Finds Variants Linked to Diverticular Disease, Presents Polygenic Score

A new study in Cell Genomics reports on more than 150 genetic variants associated with risk of diverticular disease.

Mild, Severe Psoriasis Marked by Different Molecular Features, Spatial Transcriptomic Analysis Finds

A spatial transcriptomics paper in Science Immunology finds differences in cell and signaling pathway activity between mild and severe psoriasis.

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.