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IP Watch: LLNL, U of California, Quest Dx, and Bio-Rad Among US Patent Winners

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Lawrence Livermore National Security and the University of California have been awarded US Patent No. 8,367,976, "Laser heating of aqueous samples on a micro-optical-electro-mechanical system."

Reginald Beer and Ian Kennedy are named as inventors.

Describes a system of heating a sample on a microchip that includes the following steps: Providing a microchannel flow channel in the microchip; positioning the sample within the microchannel flow channel; providing a laser that directs a laser beam onto the sample for heating the sample; providing the microchannel flow channel with a wall section that receives the laser beam and enables it to pass through the wall section of the microchannel flow channel without being appreciably heated by the beam; and providing a carrier fluid in the microchannel flow channel that moves the sample in the channel such that the carrier fluid is not appreciably heated by the laser beam.


Quest Diagnostics has been awarded US Patent No. 8,367,814, "Assay for BCR/ABL gene rearrangement."

Richard Tseng and Michael Samoszuk are named as inventors.

Provides a simple high-throughput assay to detect BCR/ABL translocations. The method includes qualitative PCR methods for identifying the particular amplified translocation, and real-time PCR for quantifying an amount of BCR/ABL transcript. Quantitative measurement of BCR/ABL transcript in accordance with the methods of the invention is useful for monitoring response to therapy.


Honeywell International has been awarded US Patent No. 8,367,397, "Active biochip for nucleic acid analysis."

Yuandong Gu and Leon Xu are named as inventors.

Relates to an active biochip for nucleic acid analysis. The biochip comprises an inlet for introducing a nucleic acid sample, fluid channels, valves in contact with the fluid channels, and pumps in contact with the fluid channels and adapted to generate a carrier gas or move a buffer through a portion of the fluid channels. The biochip also includes one or more hydroxyapatite columns for separating a portion of the nucleic acid sample, buffer reservoirs in contact with the fluid channels and positioned near the pumps, air exits, a waste reservoir, and a nucleic acid analysis region.


Bio-Rad Laboratories has been awarded US Patent No. 8,367,376, "Compositions with polymerase activity."

Peter Vander Horn and Yan Wang are named as inventors.

Provides novel compositions with polymerase activity and methods of using the compositions.


The University of Maryland, Baltimore, has been awarded US Patent No. 8,367,340, "Prognostic tools to predict the efficacy of drug treatment targeting chromatin DNA or enzymes acting on DNA."

France Carrier and Narasimharoa Nalabothula are named as inventors.

Discloses methods of predicting cell response to drug-based therapy using both PCR-stop assays and real-time PCR assays. The methods may be used to assess drug effect, evaluate regimen suitability for a given patient, and/or determine an optimal drug dose. The patent also provides isolated oligonucleotide primers to be used in the methods, such as primers capable of annealing under PCR conditions to a segment of a c-myc locus. The patent further discloses kits and systems that may be used to predict a cell response to drug-based therapy.


BioMérieux has been awarded US Patent No. 8,367,337, "Detection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus."

Corinne Jay, Dianne Van Strijp, Paul Van de Wiel, and Birgit Deiman are named as inventors.

Provides improved tests for the detection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The tests are particularly useful for eliminating false positive results due to the presence of a mixed bacterial population in patient samples.


The US Army has been awarded US Patent No. 8,367,327, "Method for simultaneously detecting multiple biological threat agents."

Jose-Luis Sagripanti and Monica Zandomeni are named as inventors.

Discloses a multiplex PCR assay to simultaneously detect biological threat agents whose genome is DNA or RNA. The method involves using computational tools to identify a specific target sequence that is unique to a specific genus or species of organism and is also a conserved sequence within that group; selecting specific primer sets; creating a probe to label the target nucleic acid extracting the target nucleic acid from a sample; amplifying the targeted nucleic acid to detectible levels; and reading the presence or absence of the target nucleic acid simultaneously from all threat agents.


Brandeis University has been awarded US Patent No. 8,367,325, "Late-PCR."

Lawrence Wangh, Kenneth Pierce, Cristina Hartshorn, John Rice, and Aquiles Sanchez are named as inventors.

Describes a non-symmetric PCR amplification method that employs a limiting primer in low concentration and whose concentration-adjusted melting point is equal to or greater than that of the excess primer, the latter in turn not being more than 25 °C below the melting temperature of the amplicon. The patent also describes assays employing such amplification and labeled hybridization probes, including assays that include a detection step following primer extension or a low-temperature probe, or both. The patent also discloses kits and primer or primer-and-probe sets for performing such assays.


Bjorn Herrmann, Leif Kirsebom, and Pelle Stolt have been awarded US Patent No. 8,367,321, "Method for detection of pathogenic organisms."

Herrmann, Kirsebom, and Stolt are researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden.

Describes a method for detecting pathogenic organisms and differentiating between species of said organisms. The method is especially suitable to detect and diagnose infection by pathogenic organisms that are difficult to detect with conventional methods. The method relies upon analysis of specific variable regions of the RNase P RNA gene, namely the P3 and/or P19 regions.

More specifically, the patent describes claims for differentiating species and/or strains of Mycobacteria comprising amplifying nucleic acid corresponding to a hypervariable P3 region of an RNase P RNA gene of the bacteria; sequencing the P3 region of the amplified nucleic acid; and identifying the species and/or strain of Mycobacteria based upon the nucleic acid sequence.

The Scan

Panel Votes for COVID-19 Pill

A US Food and Drug Administration panel has voted to support the emergency use authorization of an antiviral pill for COVID-19 from Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, CNN says.

But Not Harm

New Scientist reports that UK bioethicists say that though gene editing may improve food production, it should not harm livestock welfare.

Effectiveness Drop Anticipated

Moderna's Stéphane Bancel predicts that that current SARS-CoV-2 vaccines may be less effective against the Omicron variant, the Financial Times reports.

Cell Studies of Human Chromatin Accessibility, SARS-CoV-2 Variants, Cell Signaling Networks

In Cell this week: chromatin accessibility maps of adult human tissues, modeling to track SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, and more.