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USPTO, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, GWC Technologies, Boston University, Elixir Pharmaceuticals, ConocoPhillips, Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels, RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals, Maryland Industrial Partnerships, World Intellectual Prope

USPTO Issues Reexamination Certificates for Key WARF Stem Cell Patents
The US Patent and Trademark Office has issued reexamination certificates for the two most important base embryonic stem cell patents held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, WARF said last week.
The action officially concludes a reexamination process for the patents that began in October 2006 (see BTW, 3/5/2007) and was decided in WARF’s favor in March of this year (see BTW, 3/12/2008).
The patent office issued certificates for US Patent Nos. 5,843,780 and 6,200,806, which relate to the isolation and culture of primate and human embryonic stem cells, which was done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The ruling is not appealable, meaning that the claims of the patents stand confirmed and enforceable, WARF said.
New York-based Public Patent Foundation, California-based Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, and Burnham Institute for Medical Research scientist Jeanne Loring brought the original challenge.
The groups also challenged a third patent, US No. 7,029,913, which was upheld in WARF’s favor earlier this year. However, as this more recently issued patent follows a slightly different process, it is still subject to appeal, WARF said.

GWC Technologies Licenses WARF Surface Tech to Enhance Protein Analyses
GWC Technologies has exclusively licensed “carbon-on-metal” surface technology from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which will allow GWC’s imaging systems to generate data more reliably, the company said last week.
Lloyd Smith, professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Stephen Weibel, director of engineering at GWC, co-developed the technology. In combination with GWC’s label-free array systems, the technology can enhance the quality of information that can be obtained in studies of protein function, GWC said.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

BU Licenses SIRT1 Modulation IP to Elixir Pharmaceuticals
Boston University has exclusively licensed intellectual property to Elixir Pharmaceuticals that enables the company to use modulators of SIRT1, a member of the sirtuin class of protein deacetylase enzymes, in therapeutic applications, Elixir said this week.
SIRT1 is the human equivalent of Sir2, a gene identified in yeast that Is believed to play a key role in the control of lifespan, metabolism, resistance to stress, and other cellular regulatory pathways.
The agreement encompasses therapeutic applications for SIRT1 modulators in metabolic diseases, including obesity and diabetes, as well as therapeutic modulation of SIRT1 for anti-angiogenic activity to treat cancer.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

ConocoPhillips, Colorado’s C2B2 Ink $5M, Multi-Year Research Deal
ConocoPhillips has signed a $5 million, multi-year sponsored research agreement with the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels, a research center of the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory, the group said this week.
Under the agreement, researchers from ConocoPhillips and the center will conduct research to develop new ways to convert biomass into low-carbon transportation fuels. The specific duration of the SRA was not disclosed.
The CREC is a joint venture of the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado State University, the Colorado School of Mines, and the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The group formed the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels, or C2B2, in March 2007 to conduct research at all four institutions.
ConocoPhillips will construct a technology research facility and corporate learning center in Louisville, Colo., which is expected to open in 2012.

RegeneRx Wins Second $100K Grant from MIPS Program to Support UMB Collaboration
RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals said this week that it has received a second $100,000 award from the state of Maryland Industrial Partnerships program after successfully completing the goals outlined in the first grant.
The company is working with the University of Maryland, Baltimore, to develop a pharmaceutical product to prevent reperfusion injury associated with cardiac ischemia.
RegeneRx is contributing approximately $54,000 per year to the project, and retains the right to exclusively license all intellectual property developed.
In September, RegeneRx announced it had received its first $100,000 MIPS grant from Maryland, which included an agreement to provide second-year funding upon the successful completion of certain undisclosed milestones.
The MIPS program, an initiative of the A. James Clark School of Engineering’s Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute, is designed to commercialize university innovations by supporting collaborative research projects between academia and industry.

WIPO Patent Database Now Searchable in Japanese
The World Intellectual Property Organization said last week that its online patent service, Patentscope, will be searchable in Japanese starting July 3.
Patentscope is a searchable database of more than 1.4 million Patent Cooperation Treaty applications. Japanese is the sixth language in which users can search full-text data, joining English, French, German, Spanish, and Russian.
“This enhancement improves access to Japanese PCT international applications, which make up 16 percent of all applications filed in the past four years,” Francis Gurry, deputy director general of WIPO, said in a statement.
After English, Japanese is the language in which the most applications are filed, Gurry said. “This is part of our continuing endeavor to add value to the PCT system,” he added.

Global Technology Transfer Expands Patent Valuation Services
Global Technology Transfer Group said last week that it has expanded its patent valuation service by making available for the first time its proprietary internal valuation engine and transaction database.
GTT, based in Portland, Ore., said that its valuation process and resulting analysis filters and identifies key patents accounting for significant value in a portfolio.
“We are very excited to offer use of our proprietary tool sets to support business-critical decisions,” Michael Lubitz, CEO and chairman of GTT, said in a statement. “This offering is in response to direct requests from our clientele.”

Lixte Biotech, NINDS, NIH Extend CRADA for Brain Cancer Rx Development
Lixte Biotechnology Holdings said last week that it has extended its Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institutes of Health to develop drugs for certain kinds of brain cancers.
Initiated in March 2006, the CRADA will now run through September 2009.
"The scientific interaction with the research team at … NINDS has been highly productive and is a good example of how government and private sector scientific organizations may accelerate the drug development process,” John Kovach, President and CEO of Lixte, said in a statement.
Lixte said that it has synthesized two different types of cancer drugs that target a novel biomarker of glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and aggressive brain tumor of adults.

UK’s Modern Biosciences, University of Bradford to Co-Develop Cancer Rxs
UK-based Modern Biosciences and the University of Bradford have entered into an exclusive agreement to develop a new class of cancer drugs, Modern said last week.

The Institute of Cancer Therapeutics at the University of Bradford has developed a targeted vascular disrupting agent that has the potential to overcome the lack of tumor selectivity and systemic toxicity associated with many chemotherapeutic agents, Modern said.

The university has granted London-based MBS an exclusive 12-month option to license the technology. MBS will take up its option following the completion of certain confirmatory proof-of-principle studies, it said. MBS will also fund and manage all development work.

Revenues generated through commercialization will be shared with the university, MBS said.

"This is our fourth agreement with UK academia, adding to our previous deals with the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, and Manchester, and demonstrates MBS' commitment to building a diversified portfolio of drug development programs,” Modern’s CEO Sam Williams said in a statement.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.