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ChemoCentryx, Pharmacia, CompleGen, and Cytokinetics Win US Patents


ChemoCentryx has been awarded US Patent No. 6,998,239, "Method for identifying a modulator of the binding of CCX CKR polypeptide to a chemokine."

Inventors listed on the patent are Jennifa Gosling, Daniel Dairaghi, Michael Hanley, Zhenua Miao, Dale Talbot, and Thomas Schall.

According to its abstract, the patent protects polypeptides and polynucleotides encoding a novel chemokine receptor, CCX CKR. The invention further provides reagents and methods for identifying agents that modulate the activity or expression of the receptors, as well as methods for detecting receptor expression, the abstract states.

Pharmacia & Upjohn has been awarded US Patent No. 6,998,249,"Toxicity screening method."

Inventors listed in the patent are James McKim and Gary Cockerell.

According to its abstract, the patent protects materials and methods for predicting the in vivo toxicity of a given compound. For example, the invention comprises conducting at least three distinct assays in parallel to provide information about three distinct parameters of cytotoxicity of a chemical in a given target cell, which is useful for predicting in vivo cytotoxicity, the abstract states.

CompleGen has been awarded US Patent No. 6,998,261, "Functional gene array in yeast."

Inventors listed on the patent are Dean Dawson and John Swindle.

According to its abstract, the patent protects functional gene arrays of yeast. Novel aspects include the individual yeast cells, methods for making the yeast and the arrays, the arrays, and uses for the arrays. A diploid bearing special genetic properties has been constructed to facilitate cloning of heterologous genes capable of providing essential functions. A selection method using this strain allows the identification of haploid yeast strains dependent for life on heterologous essential genes. The arrays of these strains comprise a library of unique members where each member is dependent for survival on the function of a heterologous gene complementing a different essential host gene which has been inactivated by the insertion of a dominant selectable marker. These arrays provide screening platforms for agents that specifically target the activity of these heterologous genes, the abstract states.

Cytokinetics has been awarded US Patent No. 6,999,607, "Method and apparatus for automated cellular bioinformatics."

Inventors listed on the patent are Eskinder Kiros, Ping Ling, Robert Muller, Ramesh Venkat, and Wesley Zink.

According to its abstract, the patent protects an automated system that conducts, monitors, and validates a cell-line-based biological experiment including one or more treatment compounds or other external stimuli. In one preferred embodiment, the system comprises two principal subsystems, and optionally accessory subsystems. A first principal subsystem is an automated laboratory experiment manager for designing the biological experiment; for constructing an assay plate used to conduct the biological experiment; and for managing one or more of the processes that constitute the biological experiment. A second principal subsystem is an automated data-analysis manager for analyzing images (for instance, produced by the image production system); to detect image data including biological markers and objects; for analyzing the resulting image data to produce biological data; and for analyzing the biological data to produce biological phenotypes and treatment compound signatures.

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.