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U of Minnesota, UT-Austin, and Fox Chase Compete Licensing Agreements

Following is a summary of recent notable licensing deals executed by academic or non-profit research institutions in biotechnology and life sciences.
Licensing Institution: University of Minnesota
Primary Inventors: Timothy Behrens, adjunct professor of medicine, University of Minnesota; Emily Gillespie, assistant professor of medicine, University of Minnesota; and Peter Gregersen, investigator and head, Center for Genomics and Human Genetics, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
Licensee: XDx, Brisbane, Calif.
Technology: Intellectual property related to the use of gene expression to assess the disease status of systemic lupus erythematosus patients. The technology will be applied to develop a diagnostic test for SLE based on XDx’s AlloMap molecular expression testing platform. XDx, the University of Minnesota, and The Feinstein Institute have also entered into a separate agreement that provides XDx access to SLE patient samples collected through an NIH-funded collaborative program to elucidate biomarkers of autoimmune diseases.

Licensing Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Primary Inventors: Nicholas Peppas, chair, department of engineering, UT-Austin; Mark Byrne, assistant professor, engineering, Auburn University; and Zach Hilt, assistant professor, chemicals and materials engineering, University of Kentucky
Licensee: Mimetic Solutions, Austin, Texas
Technology: Relates to Mimetic Solutions core technology, called Affinimer Chemistry, which allows for the creation of “chemically smart” polymers that can bind specific trigger molecules such as key biomarkers in a patient’s blood, and subsequently release a drug or other agent under pre-programmed conditions. A planned first application is a smart-release of insulin in response to blood glucose levels in diabetic patients.

Licensing Institution: Fox Chase Cancer Center
Primary Inventor: Unknown
Licensee: Cancer Research Technology, the US technology transfer arm of Cancer Research UK
Technology: A small-molecule inhibitor of an undisclosed kinase. The collaboration builds on a series of validated hit compounds identified by Fox Chase scientists. Hit-to-lead studies to optimize potency and drug-like characteristics of the compounds will be performed in CRT’s London labs, while small-molecule inhibitors generated by CRT will be characterized in secondary assays at Fox Chase.

The Scan

For Better Odds

Bloomberg reports that a child has been born following polygenic risk score screening as an embryo.

Booster Decision Expected

The New York Times reports the US Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine this week for individuals over 65 or at high risk.

Snipping HIV Out

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Temple University researchers are to test a gene-editing approach for treating HIV.

PLOS Papers on Cancer Risk Scores, Typhoid Fever in Colombia, Streptococcus Protection

In PLOS this week: application of cancer polygenic risk scores across ancestries, genetic diversity of typhoid fever-causing Salmonella, and more.