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Patent Watch: Jan 11, 2009

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Geron has been awarded US Patent 7,473,555, “Protocols for making hepatocytes from embryonic stem cells.”

The inventors listed on the patent are Ramkumar Mandalam, Saadia Faouzi, Isabelle Nadeau, Kristina Pfendler-Bonham, Namitha Rao, Melissa Carpenter, Lakshmi Rambhatla, and Choy-Pik Chiu.

This patent claims a newly developed strategy and options for differentiating pluripotent stem cells into cells of the hepatocyte lineage, according to its abstract. In many of the protocols, the cells are first differentiated into early germ layer cells, then into hepatocyte precursors, and then into mature cells. The cells obtained have morphological features and phenotypic markers characteristic of human adult hepatocytes. They also show evidence of cytochrome p450 enzyme activity, validating their utility for commercial applications such as drug screening, or use in the manufacture of therapeutics.

The Scan

US Supports Patent Waivers

NPR reports that the Biden Administration has announced its support for waiving intellectual property protections for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

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Two studies find the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to be effective against viral variants, and Moderna reports on booster shots to combat variants.

CRISPR for What Ails You

The Wall Street Journal writes that CRISPR-based therapies could someday be used to treat common conditions like heart attacks.

Nature Papers Review Integration of Single-Cell Assay Data, Present Approach to Detect Rare Variants

In Nature this week: review of ways to integrate data from single-cell assays, and more.