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Rigel, Cadus, Xenogen, GE Healthcare, and Guava Win US Patents

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Rigel Pharmaceuticals has been awarded US Patent No. 7,090,976, “Methods and compositions comprising Renilla GFP.”
 
Inventors listed on the patent are David Anderson and Beau Peelle.
 
According to its abstract, the patent protects methods and compositions utilizing Renilla green fluorescent proteins, and Ptilosarcus green fluorescent proteins. In particular, the invention relates to the use of Renilla or Ptilosarcus GFPs as reporters for cell assays, particularly intracellular assays, and includes methods of screening libraries using rGFP or pGFP, the abstract states.
 

Cadus Technologies has been awarded US Patent No. 7,090,991, “System for detection of a functional interaction between a compound and a cellular signal transduction component.”
 
Lambertus Oehlen is the sole inventor listed on the patent.
 
According to its abstract, the patent protects a rapid, reproducible, robust assay system for screening and identifying pharmaceutically effective compounds that specifically interact with and modulate the activity of a cellular protein; for example, a receptor or ion channel. The assay enables rapid screening of large numbers of compounds to identify those that act as agonists or antagonists to the bioactivity of the cellular protein. In this system, a first cell is treated with a compound, and functional interaction of the compound with a cellular receptor yields a secreted signal. A second cell, bearing a receptor for the secreted signal, makes use of an indicator gene in a signaling pathway coupled to the second receptor. The assays include methods of identifying compounds which specifically modulate, for example, heterologous receptors coupled to the pheromone response pathway in yeast. The assays are particularly amenable to the identification of specific agonists and antagonists of G protein-coupled receptors, the abstract states.
 

Xenogen has been awarded US Patent No. 7,090,994, “Methods of screening for introduction of DNA into a target cell.”
 
Inventors listed on the patent are Kevin Francis, Timothy Doyle, and Kevin Nawotka.
 
According to its abstract, the patent protects methods of introducing a polynucleotide into a target cell. The method employs a light-generating protein coding sequence acting as a reporter. An important advantage of the method is that drug-resistant target cells or target cells having no useful auxotrophic markers can be effectively transformed, the abstract states. The patent also describes transformed cells produced by the methods, light-generating protein coding sequence modifications, a variety of vectors, and methods of using the transformed cells, the abstract states.
 

GE Healthcare has been awarded US Patent No. 7,091,317, “Fluorescent proteins.”
 
Inventors listed on the patent are Simon Stubbs, Anne Jones, Nigel Michael, and Nicholas Thomas.
 
According to its abstract, the patent protects novel engineered derivatives of green fluorescent protein that have an amino acid sequence that is modified by amino acid substitution, compared with the amino acid sequence of wild type GFP. The modified GFPs exhibit enhanced fluorescence relative to wtGFP when expressed in non-homologous cells at temperatures above 30° C, and when excited at about 490 nm compared to the parent proteins; for instance, wtGFP. An example of a preferred protein is F64L-S175G-E222G-GFP. The modified GFPs provide a means for detecting GFP reporters in mammalian cells at lower levels of expression and/or increased sensitivity relative to wtGFP. This greatly improves the usefulness of fluorescent proteins in studying cellular functions in living cells, the abstract states.
 

Guava Technologies has been awarded US Patent No. 7,091,348, “Fluorescent dyes, energy transfer couples, and methods.”
 
Inventors listed on the patent are Roger O’Neill and Peter Fisher.
 
According to its abstract, the patent protects fluorescent dyes, fluorescence energy transfer dye couples, and multi-color dye sets that can be employed in art-recognized assays and certain novel methods, such as in proximity assays.

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