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IP Watch: US Patents Awarded to Gen-Probe, Life Tech, Exiqon, New England Biolabs, and More

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Gen-Probe has been awarded US Patent No. 8,153,772, "Oligonucleotide probes and primers comprising universal bases for diagnostic purposes."

Bob Brown and Timothy Riley are named as inventors on the patent.

Relates to novel oligonucleotides comprising universal and generic bases for use as primers and probes, as well as methods of using said oligonucleotides to diagnose disease.


Applied Biosystems (Life Technologies) has been awarded US Patent No. 8,153,401, "Method for direct amplification from crude nucleic acid samples."

Chien-Wei Chang, Dennis Wang, and Lori Hennessy are named as inventors on the patent.

Relates to improved methods, kits, and reaction mixtures for amplifying nucleic acids. In some embodiments a novel direct buffer formulation allows for the direct amplification of the nucleic acids in a crude sample with minimal sample purification.


HeatFlow Technologies has been awarded US Patent No. 8,153,374, "Heat flow polymerase chain reaction methods."

Warren Dinges is named as inventor on the patent.

Provides methods and systems for PCR that are capable of detecting amplified DNA during or after the PCR process. The methods and systems may utilize differential scanning calorimetry or differential thermal analysis techniques.


Oklahoma State University has been awarded US Patent No. 8,153,372, "Method for simultaneously determining in a single multiplex reaction gender of donors and quantities of genomic DNA and ratios thereof, presence and extent of DNA degradation, and PCR inhibition within a human DNA sample."

Robert Allen and Valerie Fuller are named as inventors on the patent.

Provides methods for determining, in a single PCR reaction, the quantity, quality, and gender of origin of DNA in a sample, and whether or not the sample contains PCR amplification inhibitors. The methods involve carrying out a single PCR multiplex reaction utilizing primer sets specific for amplifying the human amelogenin locus; an X- and/or Y-chromosome specific gene that is shorter than the amelogenin gene; and a heterologous, non-human reporter gene.


Exiqon has been awarded US Patent No. 8,153,365, "Oligonucleotide analogues."

Jesper Wengel and Poul Nielsen are named as inventors on the patent.

Relates to novel bicyclic and tricyclic nucleoside and nucleotide analogs, as well as to oligonucleotides comprising such elements, the patent's abstract states. The nucleotide analogs, locked nucleoside analogs, or LNAs, are able to provide valuable improvements to oligonucleotides with respect to affinity and specificity towards complementary RNA and DNA oligomers, according to the patent abstract. The novel types of LNA-modified oligonucleotides, as well as the LNAs as such, are useful in a wide range of diagnostic applications as well as therapeutic applications, including antisense applications, PCR applications, strand-displacement oligomers, as substrates for nucleic acid polymerases, and as nucleotide-based drugs.


US Patent No. 8,153,361, "Dynamic and combinatorial synthesis of polymerase primers," has been awarded to an unspecified party.

Steven Benner is named as inventor on the patent. Benner is a researcher at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution and founder of startup company Firebird Biomolecular Sciences (PCR Insider, 12/22/2011).

According to its abstract, the patent relates to the field of nucleic acid chemistry, and more specifically to nucleic acid analogs and processes that use them. Still more specifically, these analogs comprise two fragments of DNA-like molecules, each having one or more ends modified to carry a reactive group such that the reactive group on one fragment can form a transient covalent bond with the reactive group on the other under conditions of dynamic equilibrium to form a composite that can then bind to a target oligonucleotide, such as a DNA or RNA molecule. Most specifically, once the transient covalent bond forms, the composite serves as a primer for a template-directed polymerization using a DNA polymerase, an RNA polymerase, or a reverse transcriptase. Once incorporated, the epimerization causes the base pair to be destabilized, the duplex containing the epimerized nucleoside to likewise be destabilized, and the double strand to then disassociate. This leaves the template available to template the synthesis of another complementary oligonucleotide containing the epimerizing base.


New England Biolabs has been awarded US Patent No. 8,153,358, "Selection and enrichment of proteins using in vitro compartmentalization."

Yu Zheng and Richard Roberts are named as inventors on the patent.

Provides compositions and methods for selecting and enriching a target gene from a library of polynucleotide sequences such as might be formed from a genome or by random mutagenesis of a genetic sequence. The selection and enrichment occurs in aqueous droplets formed in an emulsion that compartmentalize individual polynucleotides from the library, or a plurality of polynucleotides that may include polynucleotides not derived from the library; transcription and translation reagents; and optionally additional chemical and enzyme reagents. The selection and enrichment method uses a polynucleotide adaptor, which, when ligated to the polynucleotide fragment, enables amplification to occur in the presence of an adaptor-specific primer.

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