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University of Virginia, Catena Pharmaceuticals, Sigma-Aldrich, UIUC, GeneThera, University of New Mexico, PhytoMedical, Dartmouth, Colorado State U, Advanced MicroLabs, Maine Biotech Services, University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center, Lou

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UVA Spinout Catena Pharmaceuticals Licenses GPCR Tech from School
 
Catena Pharmaceuticals said this week that it has obtained a worldwide, exclusive license to intellectual property surrounding anti-angiogenic G-protein coupled receptor antagonists from the University of Virginia Patent Foundation.
 
The licensing agreement covers multiple patents and patent applications covering GPCR chemistries and methods discovered by UVA researchers Kevin Lynch and Timothy Macdonald.
 
Lynch and Macdonald identified antagonists of a subset of GPCRs specific for lysophosphatidic acid, an angiogenic molecule that promotes tumor growth. Autotaxin, the enzyme that manufactures LPA, is a recognized oncogenic protein.
 
Financial terms of the licensing deal were not disclosed.
 
Catena, which recently spun out of the university, also said that it has received an undisclosed amount of seed financing from Golden Pine Ventures to support product development at the company.
 
Ian Mehr, managing director of Golden Pine Ventures, will serve as president and director of Catena. Lynch and Macdonald will serve as vice president of biological sciences and vice president of chemical sciences, respectively, and will sit on Catena’s board.
 

 
Sigma-Aldrich Licenses Chemical Synthesis Method from UIUC
 
Sigma-Aldrich has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that will allow the company to offer research quantities of boronic acid surrogates for use in Suzuki-Miyaura coupling to researchers worldwide.
 
Under the terms of the agreement, Sigma-Aldrich can also satisfy commercial-scale requests for these surrogates from its manufacturing customers, the company said.
 
Developed by UIUC professor Martin Burke and colleagues, the technology has applications in drug discovery because it will allow researchers to quickly create large sets of related small molecules for use in screening.
 
The technology is based on a simple, low-cost, and environmentally-friendly ligand called N-methyliminodiacetic acid that reversibly modulates boronic acids toward cross-coupling, Sigma-Aldrich said. The MIDA-ligated boronic acid building blocks can then be used to construct target molecules using a single cross-coupling reaction in an iterative process, in a fashion resembling peptide synthesis.
 
Financial terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.
 

 
GeneThera Negotiating Rights to E. coli Cattle Vaccine with UNM
 
GeneThera said this week that it is negotiating with the University of New Mexico for worldwide development and distribution rights to a vaccine designed to significantly inhibit the carriage and shedding of E. coli in cattle.
 
The vaccine is based on live, attenuated bacteria and would allow GeneThera to treat beef cattle to reduce or eliminate carriage and shedding of enterohemorrhagic E. coli, which has caused the recall of millions of pounds of beef in the US in recent months.
 
If an agreement is reached between GeneThera and UM, the company said it would have exclusive rights to make, use, and sell the vaccine worldwide.
 

 
PhytoMedical and Dartmouth Renew SRA for Anti-Cancer Compounds
 
PhytoMedical Technologies said this week that it is renewing a sponsored research agreement with Dartmouth College to develop anti-cancer compounds.
 
The research agreement with the laboratory of Dartmouth professor of chemistry Gordon Gribble is based on a process called bis-intercalation or "double-binding" which tightly binds to the DNA of a cancer cell and inhibits the growth ultimately resulting in the death of the cancer cell.
 
According to PhytoMedical, Gribble’s compounds have been successfully tested in vitro against human cancer cell lines including glioblastoma, small cell lung, breast, and colon cancers.
 
Based on the results of the in vitro testing PhytoMedical announced the initiation of toxicology and efficacy testing, which is currently ongoing.
 
Additional terms of the original or renewed research agreement were not disclosed.
 

 
CSU, Advanced MicroLabs Win $750K NIH Grant; School Inks Collaboration with Maine Biotech Services
 
Colorado State University said this week that chemistry professor Charles Henry and partner Advanced MicroLabs have been awarded a $750,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to further develop their lab-on-a-chip technology for detecting cardiovascular disease.
 
Specifically, Henry and Advanced MicroLabs, based in Fort Collins, will use the grant to advance the development of a hand-held diagnostic device based on the detection of homocysteine, an amino acid that is a marker for cardiovascular disease.
 
Advanced MicroLabs licensed the technology from the CSU Research Foundation in 2006.
 
Separately, CSU said this week that its infectious disease supercluster, MicroRx, recently signed a collaborative agreement with Maine Biotechnology Services, an antibody discovery and development company.
 
The agreement allows CSU researchers to propose projects to develop antibodies against diseases within their areas of expertise. MBS will provide antibodies to the CSU researchers and license any additional developments or discoveries back from the university.
 
CSU launched MicroRx earlier this year as part of a multidisciplinary “supercluster” model to bolster public-private partnerships and tech-transfer activities.
 

 
Louisville Bioscience Licenses Dx Tech from U of Louisville’s Brown Cancer Center
 
Louisville Bioscience has exclusively licensed a screening and diagnostic platform based on differential scanning calorimetry from the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center, the school said last week.
 
The technology can be used to analyze bodily fluids, especially blood plasma, for the purposes of disease screening. LBI hopes to develop the technology further into early-stage diagnostic tests for a variety of diseases.
 
In preliminary testing, blood plasma from individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease, and lupus produced patterns that differed significantly from those of healthy individuals.
 
Differential scanning calorimetry creates a visual map of how blood proteins behave when heated, providing clues to specific diseases, Louisville said. The technique was developed by U of L scientists Jonathan Chaires, Nichola Garbett, and Bennett Jenson.
 
Financial terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.
 

 
Cytori Says that USPTO Allows Claims in Licensed Stem Cell Patents
 
Cytori Therapeutics said this week that a notice of allowance has been issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office to the University of California for composition of matter claims pending in a patent application licensed by Cytori.
 
The allowed claims cover a population of stem cells, progenitor cells, and other replicating cells, which can be obtained from human adipose tissue, Cytori said.
 
Specifically, the newly allowed claims are directed to cells expressing certain combinations of STRO-1+, CD29+, CD44+, CD71+, CD49D+, CD90+, CD105+, SH3, CD45-, CD31-, and low or undetectable levels of CD106. The University of California and the University of Pittsburgh jointly own the patent application covering these allowed claims.
 
The company also said that the allowed patent broadens its current patent portfolio for adipose-derived stem cell therapies and strengthens its ability to freely develop future therapeutics.
 

 
Stem Cell Sciences Licenses Cell-Reprogramming Tech from U of Cambridge
 
Stem Cell Sciences said this week that it has signed a licensing agreement with Cambridge Enterprise Limited, the technology-transfer company of the University of Cambridge, for technologies for reprogramming adult cells into stem cells.
 
The licensing deal relates specifically to patents and know-how for technologies used to generate induced pluripotent stem cells from mammalian cells, and developed by Austin Smith, director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research at the University of Cambridge.
 
SCS said that the new approach offers significant benefits because mammalian embryos are not required as the starting point for generating pluripotent stem cells, and that the resulting cells will have potential in medical research, drug discovery, and for the development of cell-based therapies.
 
SCS also said that the new license bolsters its relationship with Smith, whose earlier discoveries at the University of Edinburgh have also been exclusively licensed by the company.

The Scan

Booster Push

New data shows a decline in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine efficacy over time, which the New York Times says Pfizer is using to argue its case for a booster, even as the lower efficacy remains high.

With Help from Mr. Fluffington, PurrhD

Cats could make good study animals for genetic research, the University of Missouri's Leslie Lyons tells the Atlantic.

Man Charged With Threatening to Harm Fauci, Collins

The Hill reports that Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr., was charged with making threats against federal officials.

Nature Papers Present Approach to Find Natural Products, Method to ID Cancer Driver Mutations, More

In Nature this week: combination of cryogenic electron microscopy with genome mining helps uncover natural products, driver mutations in cancer, and more.