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BD, Roche, Pharmacopeia, CNRS, Millennium, and CyBio Win Cell-Based Assay-Related Patents

Becton, Dickinson and Company of Franklin Lakes, NJ, has been awarded US Patent 7,202,349, “Intrinsically fluorescent, self-multimerizing MHC fusion proteins and complexes thereof.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Kenneth Davis and Bing-Yuan Wei.
The patent describes “intrinsically fluorescent, self-multimerizing MHC fusion proteins, and complexes assembled therefrom that are capable of detectably labeling antigen-specific T lymphocytes.” The patent also presents methods for labeling antigen-specific T lymphocytes with the intrinsically fluorescent complexes, as well as flow cytometric methods for detecting, enumerating, enriching, and depleting the labeled antigen-specific T lymphocytes.

Hoffmann-La Roche of Nutley, NJ, has been awarded US Patent 7,202,081, “Simultaneous determination of cell proliferation inhibition activity and toxicity.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Bernhard Goller and Manfred Kubbies.
The patent protects a method for the simultaneous determination of cell proliferation inhibition activity and cell toxicity of a substance using a proliferating mammalian cell sample as a test system.

Pharmacopeia Drug Discovery of Cranbury, NJ, has been awarded US Patent 7,202,050, “Methods for measuring phosphatase activity.”
The inventor listed on the patent is Douglas Auld.
Covers a method for determining the level of kinase activity or phosphatase activity in a sample without the use of antibodies or radioactive labels. The method is based on a fluorescently labeled phosphorylatable reporter peptide that is capable of being cleaved by a protease only when the peptide is in an unphosphorylated state, according to the patent abstract. “Thus, the level of protease cleavage, as measured by the fluorescence change, provides a direct measure of phosphatase activity whereas the level of kinase activity is inversely proportion to the level of protease cleavage,” the abstract states, noting that the method is “particularly well suited” for screening compounds that modulate kinase or phosphatase activity.

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique of Paris, France, has been awarded US Patent 7,202,046, “Use of a fluorescent protein for detecting interaction between a target protein and its ligand.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Jean-Luc Galzi and Philippe Alix.
The patent describes the use of a fluorescent protein chosen in particular from autofluorescent proteins that is used to detect non-covalent interactions between a target protein labeled with the fluorescent protein and one of its ligands labeled with another label that includes either a molecule that is capable of absorbing the light emitted by the fluorescent protein or a fluorescent substance. The detection takes place by fluorescence energy transfer.

Millennium Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, Mass., has been awarded US Patent 7,202,023, “High throughput screen for inhibitors of the folate biosynthetic pathway in bacteria.”
The inventor listed on the patent is Christopher Murphy.
The patent protects methods for identifying compounds that are inhibitors of bacterial tetrahydrofolate biosynthesis via high-throughput screening. According to the patent description, the method first contacts a bacterial cell that contains a panB promoter with a test compound, and then measures the activity of the panB promoter, “wherein an increase in activity, relative to the level of activity of the promoter in the absence of the test compound, indicates that the test compound is an inhibitor of bacterial tetrahydrofolate biosynthesis.”

CyBio of Jena, Germany, has been awarded US Patent 7,199,377, “Optical analytic measurement device for fluorescence measurements in multisample carriers.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Juergen Wulf, Eberhard Dietzsch, and Thomas Moore.
The invention is a device for optical analytic measurement in a multisample carrier, “particularly for measuring fluorescence or bioluminescence,” according to the patent abstract. Excitation light from a light source unit is directed on the multisample carrier coaxially in a ring-shaped manner around an optical axis “wherein the optical axis is oriented in direction of a surface normal of the multisample carrier and coaxial to the direction of the readout beam path.” The invention is “preferably applicable for analysis of biochemical or cell-based assays which require dispensing liquids into wells of the multisample carrier together with optical excitation and simultaneous readout of the samples,” the patent states.

The Scan

Guidelines for Ancient DNA Work

More than two dozen researchers have developed new ethical guidelines for conducting ancient DNA research, which they present in Nature.

And Cleared

A UK regulator has cleared former UK Prime Minister David Cameron in concerns he should have registered as a consultant-lobbyist for his work with Illumina, according to the Financial Times.

Suit Over Allegations

The Boston Globe reports that David Sabatini, who was placed on leave from MIT after allegations of sexual harassment, is suing his accuser, the Whitehead Institute, and the institute's director.

Nature Papers on Esophageal Cancer, Origin of Modern Horses, Exome Sequencing of UK Biobank Participants

In Nature this week: genetic and environmental influences of esophageal cancer, domestic horse origin traced to Western Eurasian steppes, and more.