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Millipore, Odyssey Thera, Clontech, Invitrogen, and NYU Win Cell-Based Assay-Related Patents

Millipore, of Billerica, Mass., has been awarded US Patent No. 7,166,257, “Multiwell test apparatus.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Kenneth DiSilets, Jeanne Phillips, and Donald Rising.
According to its abstract, the patent protects a multiwell test apparatus formed of a multiwell filter plate having a plurality of wells, a first feeding plate, and a second receiver plate. The wells of the multiwell filter plate each have an open bottom surface to which a membrane is attached; at least one first access hole providing access to the feeding/receiver plate below; and a pair of alignment pins designed to fit alignment holes in the feeding/receiver plates in a particular arrangement. The first feeding plate is a single-well plate or a multiwell plate used solely for feeding, while the second receiver plate is a multiwell plate having the same number of wells and aligned so as to receive the wells of the filter plate, the patent’s abstract states.

Odyssey Thera of San Ramon, Calif., has been awarded US Patent No. 7,166,424, “Fragments of fluorescent proteins for protein-fragment complementation assays.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Stephen Michnick, Marnie MacDonald, and Jane Lamerdin.
According to its abstract, the patent protects protein-fragment complementation assays and assay compositions based on fluorescent proteins. The patent specifically provides methods for fragmenting fluorescent proteins and generating mutant fragments with desired spectral characteristics, and encompasses assays and compositions based on fluorescent proteins from Aequorea, Anemonia, and Anthozoa. In particular, the patent describes fragments of mutant fluorescent proteins having improved spectral properties over the wild-type proteins. This includes fragments of mutant versions of A. victoria green fluorescent protein, in particular yellow fluorescent proteins (EYFP and super-EYFP), ‘Venus,’ cyan, ‘citrine,’ blue, cyan-green, and photoactivatable variants of GFP, the abstract states.

Clontech Laboratories of Mountain View, Calif., has been awarded US Patent No. 7,166,444, “Nucleic acids encoding chromophores/fluorophores and methods for using the same.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Sergey Lukyanov, Arcady Fradkov, Yulii Labas, Mikhail Matz, and Alexey Terskikh.
According to its abstract, the patent protects nucleic acid compositions encoding novel chromo/fluoroproteins and mutants thereof, as well as the encoded proteins. The subject proteins of interest are colored and/or fluorescent, where this feature arises from the interaction of two or more residues of the protein. The subject proteins are further characterized in that they are either obtained from non-bioluminescent Cnidarian, e.g., Anthozoan, species or are obtained from non-Pennatulacean species. Specific proteins of interest include proteins obtained from the following specific Anthozoan species: Anemonia majano (NFP-1), Clavularia sp. (NFP-2), Zoanthus sp. (NFP-3 & NFP-4), Discosoma striata (NFP-5), Discosoma sp. "red" (NFP-6), Anemonia sulcata (NFP-7), Discosoma sp. "green" (NFP-8), and Discosoma sp. "magenta" (NFP-9). The patent also describes fragments of the nucleic acids and the peptides encoded thereby, as well as antibodies to the subject proteins and transgenic cells and organisms, the abstract states.

Invitrogen, of Carlsbad, Calif., has been awarded US Patent No. 7,166,745, “Transfection reagents.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Yongliang Chu, Malek Masoud, and Gulilat Gebeyehu.
According to its abstract, the patent protects compounds capable of facilitating transport of biologically active agents or substances into cells, the compound having a general structure that is described in detail in the patent.

New York University has been awarded US Patent No. 7,169,568, “Method for screening molecules that exert a neurotrophic effect through activation of neurotrophin receptors.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Moses Chao and Francis Lee.
According to its abstract, the patent protects a method for screening and identifying molecules that transactivate a neurotrophin receptor and mediate neuronal cell survival in the absence of neurotrophins. The method uses one or a combination of three different assays, which involve detecting the phosphorylation of a neurotrophin receptor, detecting the phosphorylation of phosphotidylinositol 3'-kinase or Akt enzyme, and assessing neuronal cell survival in the absence of neurotrophins, 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.