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News Briefs: Feb 4, 2009

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Cerenis Therapeutics Licenses HDL Therapy IP from Montreal Heart Institute

Cerenis Therapeutics said this week that it has licensed intellectual property from the Montreal Heart Institute Research Centre supporting the development of a drug for aortic valve stenosis based on high-density lipoprotein therapy.

The technology is based on the findings of Jean-Claude Tardif of MHIRC.

Cerenis, which has offices in Toulouse, France, and Ann Arbor, Mich., develops HDL-related compounds for treating cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Additional terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.


UVA Licenses Blood-Based Screen for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm to Ortho Clinical Dx

The University of Virginia Patent Foundation has licensed to Ortho Clinical Diagnostics a blood-based biomarker test that could be used as a screening tool to identify individuals at risk for abdominal aortic aneurysms, UVPF said this week.

The 119-protein biomarker test, developed by a team led by UVA researchers Nancy Harthun and Klaus Ley, was designed to provide an alternative to imaging techniques for diagnosing the potentially fatal condition.

Such imaging techniques are relatively expensive and often can not detect abdominal aortic aneurysm because of their location deep within the body, the researchers said.

Terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.


Mirna Therapeutics Inks Research Pact with UCSF for microRNA-based Cancer Rx

Mirna Therapeutics, a subsidiary of Asuragen, said this week that it will collaborate with researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, to evaluate the ability of specific microRNAs to reduce or eliminate tumors in mouse models of cancer.

The collaboration will include studies of cancer-related miRNAs that were discovered by both Mirna and UCSF, as well as small RNAs that will be identified using mouse and cell models from UCSF.

Mirna and UCSF are currently using animal models to explore the therapeutic potential of a variety of cancer-associated miRNAs.

Specific terms of the research collaboration were not disclosed.


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Case Western Reserve Licenses Yeast-Based Cloning Tech to Diagnostic Hybrids

Case Western Reserve University has granted Diagnostic Hybrids a worldwide, exclusive license to a novel yeast-based virus cloning technology, the company said this week.

The technology was invented by Eric Arts, an associate professor of medicine in the department of medicine at CWRU School of Medicine. It provides a platform of diagnostic tests used by physicians and researchers to monitor the success of HIV treatments by determining drug resistance and virus "strength," Diagnostic Hybrids said.

In June 2008, Diagnostic Hybrids and CWRU received a $5 million grant from the Ohio Third Frontier Biomedical Research and Commercialization Program to accelerate the commercial development of a suite of diagnostic products using the yeast vector technology in the areas of HIV, hepatitis, and influenza (see BTW, 7/2/2008).

Financial terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.


Kauffman's iBridge Allies with Ben Franklin Tech Partners to Support Penn. Universities

The iBridge Network, a program of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Innovation Network, will collaborate with Ben Franklin Technology Partners, a Pennsylvania-based network that supports technological innovation and entrepreneurship to drive economic development.

Under the partnership, BFTP will sponsor seven research universities and allow them to contribute their innovations to the iBridge Network site, iBridgeNetwork.org.

The iBridge Network allows universities and non-profit research institutes to distribute and license a variety of items, including software, research tools, databases, teaching materials, surveys, reference materials, and patent-protected technologies.

The Pennsylvania universities being sponsored by BFTP are Drexel University, Duquesne University, Lehigh University, Northeast Pennsylvania Technology Institute, Pennsylvania State University, Temple University, and the University of Pennsylvania.


Win and Loss for KCI and Wake Forest in Smith & Nephew IP Row

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit this week upheld the validity of two patents owned by Wake Forest University related to a negative pressure wound therapy device and licensed to medical device manufacturer Kinetic Concepts.

In addition, the court upheld an earlier decision by a state trial court that a gauze-based negative pressure wound therapy system marketed by Blue Sky Medical, a division of Smith & Nephew, does not infringe the Wake Forest/KCI patents.

Wake Forest and KCI have been in ongoing litigation with Blue Sky Medical, Smith & Nephew, and German medical device firm Medela and its US subsidiary, as well as others regarding alleged infringement of their patents (see BTW, 1/7/2009).


USPTO Initiates Patent-Expedition Program with Korean, Singaporean Patent Offices

The US Patent and Trademark Office said this week that it will implement an expedited patent-application process with the Korean Intellectual Property Office on a full-time basis; and with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore on a trial basis.

The program, called the Patent Prosecution Highway, is intended to expedite the patenting process by increasing cooperation between the USPTO and partner offices. The program leverages fast-track patent examination procedures already available through both offices to allow applicants to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently, the USPTO said.

The USPTO began a one-year pilot version of the program with KIPO last January. The trial period with IPOS will also be set for one year, but may be extended or terminated earlier depending on volume, activity, or other factors, USPTO said.

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.