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Pharmacia, BD, Rigel, GE Healthcare Among Recent US Patent Winners


Pharmacia & Upjohn has been awarded US Patent No. 7,067,626, "Human ion channel proteins."

Inventors listed on the patent are Christopher Benjamin, Steven Roberds, Alla Karnovsky, and Cara Ruble.

According to its abstract, the patent protects novel ion channel polypeptides, and polynucleotides that identify and encode them. The patent provides expression vectors, host cells, and methods for their production. The patent also discloses methods for the identification of ion channel agonists and/or antagonists, useful for the treatment of human diseases and conditions, the abstract states.

The University of Texas has been awarded US Patent No. 7,067,633, "Targeting cellular entry, cell survival, and pathogenicity by dynein light chain 1/PIN in human cells."

Inventors listed on the patent are Rakesh Kumar and Ratna Vadlamudi.

According to its abstract, the patent protects methods of modulating macropinocytosis in cells of a target cell population by modulating the binding of Pak1 to DLC1/PIN. In addition, the invention provides methods of screening for modulators of macropinocytosis that involve determining whether a candidate substance inhibits or promotes the binding of Pak1 to DLC1/PIN. The patent also discloses methods of reducing cell proliferation in a target cell population, methods of inhibiting growth and survival of a cancer cell, methods of inhibiting the invasiveness of a cancer cell, and methods of treating viral infection using an agent that modifies the binding of Pak1 to DLC1/PIN.

The University of California has been awarded US Patent No. 7,068,874, "Microfluidic sorting device."

Inventors listed on the patent are Mark Wang, Erhan Ata, and Sadik Esener.

According to its abstract, the patent protects a device in which small particles, for example 5-µm-diameter microspheres or cells, within a fluid that is flowing within microfluidic channels within a radiation-transparent substrate are selectively manipulated with laser light at branching junctions in the microfluidic channels so as to enter into selected downstream branches, thereby realizing particle switching and sorting, including in parallel. Transport of the small particles thus transpires by microfluidics while manipulation in the manner of optical tweezers arises either from pushing due to optical scattering force, or from pulling due to an attractive optical gradient force. Whether pushed or pulled, the particles within the flowing fluid may be optically sensed, and highly parallel, low-cost, cell- and particle-analysis devices efficiently realized, including as integrated on bio-chips, the abstract states.

Becton Dickinson has been awarded US Patent No. 7,070,943, "Detection of protein conformations in single cells."

Inventors listed on the patent are Zbigniew Darzynkiewicz, Frank Traganos, Gloria Juan, and Stefan Gruenwald.

According to its abstract, the patent protects methods, reagents, and kits that permit flow cytometric determination of the phosphorylation status of retinoblastoma susceptibility gene protein (pRB) in individual cells. The patent describes methods that permit the hypophosphorylated, active form of pRB to be measured either as an absolute quantity or as a proportion of total cellular pRB. The patent also describes methods that permit pRB phosphorylation status to be correlated with cell cycle phase and with protein components of the cell cycle. The patent also describes methods for screening chemical compounds for antiproliferative and antineoplastic activity using the flow cytometric assays; and reagent kits that facilitate the methods.

Rigel Pharmaceuticals has been awarded US Patent No. 7,070,996, "Production of cultured human mast cells and basophils for high-throughput small molecule drug discovery."

Alexander Rossi is the sole inventor listed on the patent.

According to its abstract, the patent protects methods for producing and screening proliferated populations of CD34-negative progenitor cells, mucosal mast cells, connective tissue-type mast cells, and basophil cells. The methods generate uniform proliferated populations of cells. The proliferated populations contain a uniform population of a size suitable for use in high-throughput screening methods; for example, screening for agents that alter exocytosis. The invention includes screening the proliferated populations with at least one candidate bioactive agent, and evaluating the cells to detect a cell with an altered phenotype. The invention also includes isolating a candidate bioactive agent that causes the altered phenotype. Additionally, cells formed according to the described methods are also protected by the patent, its abstract states.

GE Healthcare has been awarded US Patent No. 7,072,036, "Fluorescence reference plate."

Inventors listed on the patent are Christopher Jones, Philip Meyler, Robert Jessop, Malcolm Hatcher, Michael Page, and Michael Looker.

According to its abstract, the patent protects a multi-modality fluorescence reference plate comprising wells coated with a fluorogenic compound, as well as a method of producing such a plate. The plate has utility for calibrating fluorescent plate readers and imaging systems for measuring steady-state fluorescence, time-resolved fluorescence, fluorescence lifetime, and/or fluorescence polarization, the abstract states.

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