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Vanderbilt, Odyssey Thera, Ambion, Rigel, BD Win US Patents

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Vanderbilt University has been awarded US Patent No. 6,894,205, "Assay for toxin induced neuronal degeneration and viability in C. elegans."

Inventors listed on the patent are Randy Blakely, Richard Nass, and David Miller.

According to its abstract, the patent protects in vivo screening methods to detect and identify substances that affect neuronal viability, and/or prevent neurodegeneration, and/or confer neuroprotective effects. The screening methods utilize recombinant C. elegans expressing a detectable marker in neuronal sub-groups and the use of neurotoxins specific to specific neuronal cells, the abstract states. The patent also protects methods for identifying modulators of neurotransmitter transporters such as the dopamine transporter and … methods for identifying substances that can be used in the prevention and therapy of neurodegenerative diseases, the abstract states.


Odyssey Thera has been awarded US Patent No. 6,897,017, "In vivo library-versus-library selection of optimized protein-protein interactions."

Inventors listed on the patent are Stephen Michnick, Joelle Pelletier, Katja Arndt, and Andreas Pluckthun.

According to its abstract, the patent protects a rapid and efficient in vivo library-versus-library screening strategy for identifying optimally interacting pairs of heterodimerizing polypeptides. [The strategy] allows for the screening of a protein library against a second protein library, rather than against a single bait protein, and thus has numerous applications in the study of protein-protein interactions, the abstract states. Additionally, [the strategy] allows for the application of different selection stringencies. As an example, the abstract states, two leucine zipper libraries, semi-randomized at the positions adjacent to the hydrophobic core, were genetically fused to either one of two designed fragments of the enzyme murine dihydrofolate reductase (mDHFR), and co-transformed into E. coli. Interaction between the library polypeptides was required for reconstitution of the enzymatic activity of mDHFR, allowing bacterial growth. Analysis of the resulting colonies revealed important biases in the zipper sequences relative to the original libraries, which are consistent with selection for stable, heterodimerizing pairs. Using more weakly associating mDHFR fragments, we increased the stringency of selection. We enriched the best performing leucine zipper pairs by multiple passaging of the pooled, selected colonies in liquid culture, as the best pairs allowed for better bacterial propagation. This competitive growth allowed small differences among the pairs to be amplified, and different sequence positions were enriched at different rates. We applied these selection processes to a library-versus-library sample of 2.0×106 combinations, and selected a novel leucine zipper pair which may be appropriate for use in further in vivo heterodimerization strategies.


Rigel Pharmaceuticals has been awarded US Patent No. 6,897,031, "Multiparameter FACS assays to detect alterations in exocytosis."

Inventors listed on the patent are Joseph Fisher, James Lorens, Donald Payan, and Alexander Rossi.

According to its abstract, the patent protects a method for screening for alterations in exocytosis of a population of cells. The cells are sorted by a FACS machine by assaying for alterations in at least three of the properties selected from the group consisting of light scattering, fluorescent dye uptake, fluorescent dye release, annexin granule binding, surface granule enzyme activity, and the quantity of granule specific proteins, the abstract states. Methods for screening for bioactive agents capable of modulating exocytosis in a cell are also described in the patent. The methods provide for reduced background and increased specificity without increasing the time or steps involved in assaying for exocytosis, the abstract states.


Ambion has been awarded US Patent No. 6,897,069, "System and method for electroporating a sample."

Inventors listed on the patent are Richard Jarvis, Mike Byrom, and Dmitriy Ovcharenko.

According to its abstract, the patent protects a system and method for electroporating a sample that utilizes one or more sets of electrodes that are spaced apart in order to hold a surface tension-constrained sample between the electrodes. The first electrode is connected to the lower body of the system while the second electrode is connected to the upper body. Both electrodes are connected to a pulse generator. Each electrode has a sample contact surface such that the first electrode and the second electrode may be positioned to hold a surface tension-constrained sample between the two sample contact surfaces and the sample may receive a selected electric pulse.


Becton Dickinson has been awarded US Patent No. 6,897,954, "Instrument setup system for a fluorescence analyzer."

Inventors listed on the patent are James Bishop, Sunil Dalal, Zhenxiang Gong, and Michael Lock.

According to its abstract, the patent protects instruments for analyzing a multiplicity of fluorescent dyes using a multiplicity of amplifying photodetectors, methods for using the instruments, methods for setting the instrument parameters, and methods for resetting the instrument parameters following a change in photodetector amplification. The present invention is particularly applicable in the field of flow cytometry, the abstract states.

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.