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Nanosphere, Aclara BioSciences, Inproteo, Velcura Therapeutics, Purdue University, MDS Sciex


Nanosphere Licenses Protein Detection Technology from Northwestern

Nanosphere, of Chicago, said this week it has licensed a detection technology for protein analytes from Northwestern University.

The technology was developed by Nanosphere co-founder and Northwestern University professor Chad Merkin and described in the Sept. 26 issue of Science (Science 2003; Sept. 26; 301: 1884-1886).

The technology, which has been applied to detection of prostate-specific antigen, uses magnetic microparticle probes with antibodies that specifically bind a target of interest and nanoparticle probes that bind DNA that is unique to the protein target of interest, as well as antibodies that can sandwich the target captured by the probes, according to the article.

Nanosphere said it plans to combine the technology with its detection systems for DNA.

The financial terms of the licensing deal were not disclosed.

Aclara Patents Use of eTags to Measure Cell Surface Proteins

Aclara BioSciences has been granted its 96th patent covering its eTag assay technology.

The latest US patent (No. 6,627,400, entitled “Multiplexed Measurement of Membrane Protein Populations”) covers the use of the technology for the measurement of populations of proteins such as receptors on cell surfaces.

“The invention is for any method of measuring cell surface proteins like receptors that employs releasable reporter molecules that are separated from an assay mixture,” said Sharat Singh, senior vice president of eTag Technology at Aclara, in a statement.

According to Thomas Klopack, CEO of Aclara, the company is seeing “a high level of interest from potential pharmaceutical and biotech customers” in assays dir-ected to cell surface proteins as biomarkers

Inproteo Licenses Patent to Biogen

Inproteo (formerly known as the Indiana Proteomics Consortium) said it has licensed US Patent No. 4,569,794 — which protects a fusion protein purification technique known commonly as “His Tag” — to Biogen.

Eli Lilly, the original assignee on the patent, granted a license to Inproteo with exclusive right to issue sub-licenses, Inproteo said.

Biogen joins a number of life science and biopharmaceutical companies that have already concluded licensing agreements, the company said, and the consortium is “holding discussions with numerous other companies, research institutes, and universities to license the patent for research and commercial use.”

Inproteo was founded in 2002 as a collaboration between Indiana University, Purdue University, and Eli Lilly.

Velcura Receives Grant for Proteomics Research on Bone Formation

Velcura Therapeutics of Ann Arbor, Mich., said it has received a $224,000 phase I small business innovation research grant from the National Institute on Aging.

The company said the six-month grant — entitled “Regulation of the Human Osteoblast Proteome” — will support its research of the molecular processes underlying human bone formation.

“Coupled with our in-depth ability to analyze bone cell gene expression and function, these technologies greatly expand our ability to discover novel targets and therapies for osteoporosis,” Michael Long, the com- pany’s CEO, said in a statement.

Velcura’s research will be done in collaboration with Proteomics Research Services, also of Ann Arbor, Long said.

Cytochrome Structure Solved

Researchers from Purdue University published a paper in Science online last week describing the crystallization of cytochrome, a membrane protein complex responsible for photosynthesis in blue-green bacteria, Purdue officials said.

According to the Purdue scientists and NIGMS, which funded the study, the research could help fill in the gaps in protein databases that are left by membrane proteins, which traditionally present a major identification and crystallization challenge.

MDS Sciex Inks Distribution Pact with Crelab

MDS Sciex, of Toronto, the instruments and technology division of MDS, has signed a distribution agreement with Crelab instruments in Uppsala, Sweden, in which Crelab will distribute MDS’ NanoLC system in Sweden, the companies said this week.

The system incorporates Eksigent Technologies’ microfluidic flow control technology for control of nanoscale flow rates, and does not require flow splitting, according to MDS. It can be used by itself or with LC/MS to identify peptides in proteins.

Crelab markets front end automation for LC/MS chromatography instruments.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.