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Cellomics, BU, Columbia, Genoptix Among Recent US Patent Winners

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Ya Fang Liu, an assistant professor of pharmacology at the Boston University School of Medicine, has been awarded US Patent No. 6,811,992, “Method for identifying MLK inhibitors for the treatment of neurological conditions.”

The patent describes methods for identifying compounds that inhibit JNK and MLK kinase activity as drugs for treating a mammal susceptible to or having a neurological condition. The patent also discloses methods for preventing neuronal cell death and treating neurological conditions that involve neuronal cell death, particularly neurodegenerative diseases characterized by glutamine- or kainite-mediated toxicity, such as Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, the abstract states.


Columbia University has been awarded US Patent No. 6,812,025, “Two hybrid assay that detects HIV-1 reverse transcriptase dimerization.”

Inventors listed on the patent are Stephen Goff and Gilda Tachedjian.

According to its abstract, the patent describes methods of determining whether a compound inhibits HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. Specifically, it describes methods of determining whether a compound inhibits or enhances formation of a complex between p66 and p51 subunit polypeptides of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase; or, whether a compound inhibits or enhances formation of a complex between two p66 subunit polypeptides of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase.


Cellomics has been awarded US Patent No. 6,813,615, “Method and system for interpreting and validating experimental data with automated reasoning.”

Inventors listed on the patent are Ricardo Colasanti, Mark Collins, and John Shaw.

The patent describes a method and system for interpreting experimental data with automated reasoning. Domain-specific knowledge is acquired from one or more pharmaceutical information sources, and a semantic representation of the domain-specific knowledge is created meeting a desired set of criteria, the abstract states. Pharmaceutical data from a knowledge database is classified with the semantic representation, allowing construction of a set of reasons for any classified pharmaceutical data. The set of reasons may help interpret the classified pharmaceutical data to remove errors, such as “physical errors” and “biological errors.” Removing such errors helps improve fusion of knowledge from multiple data, information, and knowledge sources, which incorporates activity and selectivity against a target, and desired pharmacokinetic and toxicity properties, enabling selection of potential pharmaceutical compounds. The method and system may improve identification, selection, validation and screening of new real or virtual pharmaceutical compounds, or may be used to provide bioinformatic techniques for storing and manipulating pharmaceutical knowledge, the abstract states.


Genoptix has been awarded US Patent No. 6,815,664, “Method for separation of particles.”

Inventors listed on the patent are: Mark Wang, Eugene Tu, James O’Connell, Krystie Lykstad, and William Butler.

According to its abstract, the patent protects methods and an apparatus for interacting light with particles, including but not limited to biological matter such as cells, in unique and highly useful ways. The methods are based on optophoresis, which consists of subjecting particles to various optical forces, especially optical gradient forces, and more particularly moving optical gradient forces, so as to obtain useful results, the abstract states. In biology, this technology represents a practical approach to probing the inner workings of a living cell, preferably without any dyes, labels or other markers. In one aspect, a method is provided for separating particles by flowing them within a first constrained path, which has an input and an output; and a sorting region coupling to a second constrained path, which includes an output; and illuminating the sorting region with a moving optical gradient so that certain particles flow in a laminar manner between the first inlet and the output of the first constrained path, and selected particles are diverted from the first constrained path to the second constrained path under the force of the moving optical gradient, the abstract states.

The Scan

Review of Approval Process

Stat News reports the Department for Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General is to investigate FDA's approval of Biogen's Alzheimer's disease drug.

Not Quite Right

A new analysis has found hundreds of studies with incorrect nucleotide sequences reported in their methods, according to Nature News.

CRISPR and mRNA Together

Time magazine reports on the use of mRNA to deliver CRISPR machinery.

Nature Papers Present Smartphone Platform for DNA Diagnosis of Malaria, Mouse Lines for Epigenomic Editing

In Nature this week: a low-cost tool to detect infectious diseases like malaria, and more.