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Patent Watch: Feb 20, 2009

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The US Department of Veterans Affairs has been awarded US Patent 7,491,810, "Transgenic screen and method for screening modulators of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) production."

The inventors listed on the patent are Gerhard Heinrich and Gigi Huynh.

As stated in its abstract, the patent describes a transgenic screen and method for screening biological and chemical test substances or molecules for their ability to influence or modulate the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in cells, including a fusion gene having a zebrafish BDNF promoter and a fluorescent marker gene inserted downstream of the promoter. When the fusion gene is injected into a zebrafish embryo, the BDNF promoter causes the production of fluorescent protein in various cell types. The embryo is exposed to a test substance to determine the compound's effect on the production of the fluorescent marker protein.


Meso Scale Technologies has been awarded US Patent 7,491,540, "Assay buffer, compositions containing the same, and methods of using the same."

The inventors listed on the patent are Michael Tsionsky, Eli Glezer, Selen Altunata, George Sigal, Jonathan Leland, Mark Billadeau, Svetlana Leytner, Mark Martin, and Larry Helms.

The patent claims compositions, reagents, kits, systems, system components, and methods for performing assays, according to its abstract. In particular, the patent describes to the use of novel combinations of reagents to provide improved assay performance.


Acadia Pharmaceuticals has been awarded US Patent 7,491,503, "Identification of ligands by selective amplification of cells transfected with receptors."

The inventor listed on the patent is Mark Brann.

Its abstract states that the patent provides a method for identifying substances acting as ligands for transfected receptors by using transfected markers to measure receptor/ligand interactions. The patent also describes a method of identifying compounds which act as inverse agonists of the 5-HT2A receptor, the method comprising contacting a constitutively active 5-HT2A receptor with at least one test compound and determining any decrease in the amount of basal activity of the receptor, so as to identify a test compound which is an inverse agonist of the 5-HT2A receptor. Such inverse agonists may be used in the treatment of schizophrenia and related psychoses.


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