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Protiveris, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Celltech


Protiveris Licenses Sensor Technologies to Battelle

Protiveris has licensed rights to sensor technologies from UT-Battelle, as part of its development of bioMEMS biochips for protein research, the Rockville, Md., company said this week.

The technologies, developed by scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, allow users to measure biomolecular interactions with microcantilevers, the company said. Protiveris already has biochips that use arrays of microcantilevers as biosensors.

Under the agreement, the company will be working with ORNL scientists to further develop this system, the VeriScan 3000.

“We are extremely pleased to have acquired the commercial rights to these technologies and to be working closely with Oak Ridge National Laboratory on their commercial development,” Robert Menzi, chief operating officer of Protiveris, said in a statement.

CIHR to Formulate Plan for Autoimmune Disease Research

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research this week invited researchers to a symposium to help the government agency formulate a plan for researching autoimmune diseases. The symposium, held Dec. 4 and 5 in Toronto and led by Bhagirath Singh, scientific director of the Institute of Infection and Immunity at CIHR, has as one of its four goals determining what the role of technologies such as proteomics will be.

Celltech Takes Back CDP 870 Drug from Pfizer

Celltech announced this week that it has activated its right to terminate a 2001 licensing agreement with Pfizer and will regain within 90 days the rights to CDP 870, its PEGy-lated anti-TNF-alpha antibody drug. Celltech activated this clause after the company declined to make changes to the agreement as Pfizer requested. Following the 90-day reversion period, all product development and commercialization rights, as well as program information, will revert back to Celltech.

Celltech said that it terminated the agreement so that it could explore further potential applications for the drug, aside from the Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis applications already discussed.

“We are pleased with the professional and supportive attitude of Pfizer which has allowed us to rapidly conclude our discussions, and are absolutely delighted to have regained full control of CDP 870 at an advanced stage of its development,” Goran Ando, CEO of Celltech, said in a statement.

The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.