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IP Watch: U of Utah, Life Tech, Biomérieux, Canon, Marshall U, Stanford U, Others Win US Patents

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The University of Utah has been awarded US Patent No. 8,296,074, "Melting curve analysis with exponential background subtraction."

Robert Palais and Carl Wittwer are named as inventors.

Describes a method for clustering melting profiles of a plurality of nucleic acid samples. The method comprises measuring the fluorescence of each nucleic acid sample as a function of temperature to produce a respective raw melting curve for each respective nucleic acid sample, and clustering genotypes of the plurality of nucleic acid samples to form a plurality of clusters of melting curves. The patent also describes a system for analyzing a plurality of nucleic acid samples comprising an instrument for sequentially heating fluorescently detectable complexes while monitoring their fluorescence, a central processing unit for performing computer executable instructions, and a memory storage device for storing computer executable instructions that when executed by the CPU cause it to cluster genotypes of a plurality of nucleic acid samples.


Applied Biosystems (Life Technologies) has been awarded US Patent No. 8,293,502, "Emulsion PCR and amplicon capture."

Benjamin Schroeder is named as inventor.

Discloses compositions and methods of use for clonally amplifying target polynucleotide sequences in solution and attaching the amplicons to a surface by activation of a masked binding moiety. In an embodiment, the amplicons comprise the masked binding moiety and the surface comprises a binding partner of the binding moiety. Upon activation of the binding moiety, the amplicons bind to the binding partner on the surface. In a non-limiting example, the masked binding moiety is caged biotin or caged fluorescein, while the corresponding binding partner is avidin or an anti-fluorescein antibody.


BioMérieux has been awarded US Patent No. 8,293,476, "Method for treating a solution in order to destroy any ribonucleic acid after amplification."

Wilco Brusselaars and Fokke Venema are named as inventors.

Provides a method for treating a solution that contains, among others, at least one target nucleic acid to be amplified in order to destroy any ribonucleic acid that is present in the solution and that could possibly be amplified in another assay. The method is useful to avoid carry-over contamination between experiments. The method comprises contacting suitable amplification reagents and at least one target nucleic acid in the presence of at least one ribonuclease (RNase) and one ribonuclease inhibitor, the RNase being inhibited by the ribonuclease inhibitor amplification reagents, RNase, ribonuclease inhibitor, and target nucleic acid form the solution. The method also comprises performing a transcription-based amplification of the target; treating the solution in order to inactivate the ribonuclease inhibitor and activate the RNase; and degrading any RNA that is present in the solution by the action of said RNase. The invention is especially useful in methods for diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic applications, the patent's abstract states.


Canon has been awarded US Patent No. 8,293,475, "Apparatus and method for examining nucleic acid using capsule."

Hideaki Okamoto is named as inventor.

Describes a biopolymer-examining apparatus that includes a capsule-forming unit configured to form a capsule by sealing a target biopolymer and a reagent with a capsule film; a transferring unit configured to transfer the capsule; an amplification reaction unit configured to amplify the target biopolymer that is enclosed in the capsule; and a detecting unit configured to detect the amplified target biopolymer while the target biopolymer is enclosed in the capsule.


Labonnet of Ramat-Hasharon, Israel, has been awarded US Patent No. 8,293,473, "Assessment of reaction kinetics compatibility between polymerase chain reactions."

Tichopad Ales and Bar Tzachi are named as inventors.

Discloses a method that compares amplification reaction kinetics between two or more quantitative polymerase chain reactions. The method estimates a plurality of parameters from each reaction and compares them simultaneously between reactions, enabling quality control and/or quality assessment for quantification of nucleic acids by PCR.


Marshall University has been awarded US Patent No. 8,293,471, "Apparatus and method for a continuous rapid thermal cycle system."

Derek Gregg, Elizabeth Murray, Michael Norton, Justin Swick, and Herbert Tesser are named as inventors

Describes a thermal cycle system and method suitable for mass production of DNA. The system comprises a temperature control body having at least two sectors. Each sector has at least one heater, cooler, or other means for changing temperature. A path traverses the sectors in a cyclical fashion. In use, a piece of tubing or other means for conveying is placed along the path and a reaction mixture is pumped or otherwise moved along the path such that the reaction mixture is repetitively heated or cooled to varying temperatures as the reaction mixture cyclically traverses the sectors, and thereby reacts to form a product. In particular, PCR reactants may continuously be pumped through the tubing to amplify DNA. The temperature control body is preferably a single aluminum cylinder with a grooved channel circling around its exterior surface, and preferably has wedge-shaped or pie-shaped sectors separated by a thermal barrier.


Stanford University has been awarded US Patent No. 8,293,501, "Methods and compositions for performing low background multiplex nucleic acid amplification reactions."

Johan Frederiksson and Carl Dahl are named as inventors.

Discloses methods and compositions for performing low background multiplex nucleic acid amplification reactions. Aspects of the invention include contacting a nucleic acid sample with two or more primer pairs for two or more target nucleic acids under template-dependent primer extension reaction conditions, e.g., PCR conditions. The resultant amplified composition is then contacted with target nucleic acid circularizing reagents, thus selecting product circularized target nucleic acids, for example, for further amplification. The patent also provides systems and kits for practicing embodiments of the inventions.


Stanford University has also been awarded US Patent No. 8,293,470, "Non-invasive fetal genetic screening by digital analysis."

Stephen Quake and Hei-Mun Christina Fan are named as inventors.

Describes a process in which maternal blood containing fetal DNA is diluted to a nominal value of approximately 0.5 genome equivalent of DNA per reaction sample. Digital PCR is then be used to detect aneuploidy, such as the trisomy that causes Down syndrome. Since aneuploidies do not present a mutational change in sequence, and are merely a change in the number of chromosomes, it has not been possible to detect them in a fetus without resorting to invasive techniques such as amniocentesis or chorionic villi sampling, the patent states. Digital amplification allows the detection of aneuploidy using massively parallel amplification and detection methods, examining, e.g., 10,000 genome equivalents, according to the patent's abstract.

The Scan

WHO Seeks Booster Pause

According to CNN, the World Health Organization is calling for a moratorium on administering SARS-CoV-2 vaccine boosters until more of the world has received initial doses.

For Those Long Legs

With its genome sequence and subsequent RNAi analyses, researchers have examined the genes that give long legs to daddy longlegs, New Scientist says.

September Plans

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration is aiming for early September for full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on Targeting DNA Damage Response, TSMiner, VarSAn

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: genetic changes affecting DNA damage response inhibitor response, "time-series miner" approach, and more.