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Tech Transfer Tidbits: Apr 15, 2009

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Mass Tech-Transfer Center Partners with iBridge Network

The Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center has partnered with the iBridge Network, a tech-transfer and academic collaboration web portal sponsored by the non-profit Kauffman Innovation Network, a division of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

As part of the partnership, 20 universities and organizations affiliated with MTTC will join the more than 50 other research institutions currently participating in the iBridge Network, iBridge said.

Additional MTTC organizations will be able to join iBridge in the coming months, iBridge said.

Established in 2007, the iBridge Network enables US research institutions to connect, collaborate, and distribute and license research materials and intellectual property. With the addition of MTTC institutions, the network now contains more than 6,500 innovations from 76 organizations, iBridge said.

MTTC, created in 2004 as part of the Massachusetts Economic Stimulus Bill, supports technology transfer activities at public and private research institutions in the state.

"MTTC has showcased the pioneering, early-stage innovations being developed at academic institutions in the state on our own web portal," Abigail Barrow, director of the MTTC, said in a statement.

"We will now be co-listing our 3,000 innovations on the iBridge Network, which will provide us with additional exposure and allow MTTC researchers to work with other professionals across the country," she added.


ViroStatics Licenses Compound Library from Italy's University of Siena

ViroStatics, a clinical-stage biotech company developing therapeutics for viral and other chronic diseases, has exclusively licensed a 300-compound library from the University of Siena in Italy.

Professors Maurizio Botta at the University of Siena, Silvia Schenone at the University of Genova, and Giovanni Magas of the Institute of Molecular Genetics-National Research Council, Pavia, co-developed the compound library.

The library consists of specifically designed molecules targeting key enzymes processes involved in cancer and viral diseases. ViroStatics, based in Princeton, NJ, will identify and develop candidate compounds with activity against HIV, hepatitis C, and other unidentified viruses using the company's proprietary screening technology.

Specific terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.


Ben-Gurion University Inks Plant-Biology Research Pact with Bayer

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev said last week that it has established a research partnership with Bayer BioScience, a subsidiary of Bayer CropScience, to identify genes involved in stress resistance in plants.

The agreement builds upon research conducted by Simon Barak, a researcher at the university's Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research.

Barak's team is using a combination of approaches to identify genes that allow plants to tolerate the harsh environmental stresses characteristic of arid regions. The team has discovered that the removal of two of these genes could increase the tolerance of the plant model, Arabidopsis, to heat, salt, and drought.

Under the agreement signed between Ghent, Belgium-based Bayer CropScience and BGN Technologies, the tech-transfer company of Ben-Gurion, researchers from both organizations will attempt to identify additional stress resistance genes.

Financial terms of the research collaboration were not disclosed.


TEDCO Awards MTTF Grants to Maryland Industry-Academia Partners

The Maryland Technology Development Corporation has awarded seven Maryland technology companies, including four in the biomedical space, a total of $512,637 through TEDCO's Maryland Technology Transfer Fund program.

The MTTF program requires that companies receiving an award partner with a Maryland academic institution or federal laboratory, and is designed to foster greater public-private collaboration and tech transfer in the state.

The grant recipients, each of which received approximately $75,000, include:

• Fyodor Biotechnologies, located in Baltimore, which is working with Johns Hopkins University to develop diagnostic tests to detect intact proteins in the blood of malaria patients

• Rafagen, located in Rockville, which is working with the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute to further develop and commercialize a gene-expression system that uses synthetic gene promoters

• SD Nanosciences, located in Beltsville, which is working with the University of Maryland, College Park, to further develop patent-pending carbohydrate-functionalized nanomaterials for encapsulation and targeted delivery of drugs and vaccines

• Tendyne Medical, located in Baltimore, which is working with the University of Maryland, Baltimore, to develop and manufacture medical devices that address the features of structural heart disease


FTC and UC-Berkeley to Host Public Hearing on IP Markets

The Federal Trade Commission, in conjunction with the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology and the Berkeley Competition Policy Center, will conduct a public hearing on the evolving market for intellectual property May 4-5 on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley.

The hearing, which is the fifth and final in a series, will explore how markets for patents and technology operate in different industries, whether they operate efficiently, and how patent policy might be adjusted to respond to problems in those markets to better promote innovation and competition.

The hearing will be held at UC-Berkeley's Haas School of Business, Wells Fargo Room, 2220 Piedmont Ave., in Berkeley. Registration is not required. An agenda of the hearing is available on the FTC website.

The Scan

Taking Stock of the Stockpile

The US and European countries are evaluating their smallpox vaccine stockpiles as the number of monkeypox cases increases, the Washington Post reports.

Vitamin D From Tomatoes

According to Reuters, researchers in the UK have gene-edited tomatoes so their fruit contains vitamin D.

Cause Not Yet Spotted

NPR reports that a new study was unable to find a cause for persistent long COVID symptoms.

PNAS Papers on Central African Hunter-Gatherers, Myopia Development, Ancient Microtia Allele

In PNAS this week: population patterns among Central African hunter gatherers, effect of myopia-linked gene variant, and more.