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Ambion, Rosetta, Alnylam, Stanford University, Galapagos, Invitrogen, Hutchinson Cancer Center


Ambion Licenses microRNA Sequences from Rosetta Genomics

Rosetta Genomics and Ambion have signed an agreement that will give Ambion access to Rosetta's proprietary microRNA sequences, the companies said this week.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ambion will adapt its platform to detect, quantify, and characterize proprietary microRNA sequences discovered by Rosetta, a developer of microRNA-based therapeutics and diagnostics.

Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Alnylam, Isis Ink Co-Exclusive microRNA IP Licensing Deal with Stanford

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Isis Pharmaceuticals said this week that they have signed a co-exclusive license agreement to acquire from Stanford University intellectual property related to the discovery and development of therapeutics for hepatitis C infection by inhibiting liver-specific microRNAs.

The companies noted that a paper, published in the Sept. 2, 2005 issue of Science and authored by Stanford researcher Catherine Jopling and colleagues, demonstrates how a microRNA known as mir-122 is required for hepatitis C virus replication in mammalian cells. According to the paper, miR-122 interacts directly with a specific 5' noncoding sequence of the HCV genome leading to increased abundance of the viral mRNA, said the companies. Antagonism of mir-122 function using an antisense oligonucleotide resulted in a dramatic decrease of viral RNA.

Galapagos to Use siRNA Vectors to Help Dutch Partners Develop Spinal Disorder Drugs

Galapagos said this week that it will help Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics, the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research, and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam develop treatments for acute spinal cord and peripheral nerve damage.

The collaboration, funded in part by a €2 million ($2.5 million) grant from the Dutch government organization Senter, aims to develop drugs that promote nerve regeneration and reduce the effect of neural scarring, Galapagos said.

Terms of the deal call for the Dutch company to provide access to its siRNA vectors on a fee-for-service basis. It is hoped that access to this technology will enable the partners to "discover protein targets involved in regeneration of injured nerve tissue."

Once these targets have been identified, Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics will develop technologies based on their gene therapy platform. The Netherlands Institute for Brain Research, meantime, will use its expertise in neuroregeneration and microarray technology and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam will analyze nerve cell growth to further develop the therapeutics, according to Galapagos.

Invitrogen Signs Cancer Biomarker Deal with Hutchinson Cancer Center

Invitrogen will use its ProtoArray protein microarrays to develop diagnostic and screening tools for cancer under a collaboration with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the partners announced this week.

Invitrogen said it would apply its protein and antibody collections to the collaboration with researchers in the lab of Sam Hanash. The firm will have rights under the multi-year program to license technologies that result from the collaboration. Further terms of the alliance were not disclosed.

This is Invitrogen's second partnership within the past year aimed at discovering cancer biomarkers. The first, signed in December 2004, is with the Mayo Clinic. Under that collaboration, Invitrogen provides financial and research support for multiple biomarker discovery programs at Mayo, and has an option to license and develop resulting technology on an exclusive and non-exclusive basis.

The Scan

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.

Survey Sees Genetic Literacy on the Rise, Though Further Education Needed

Survey participants appear to have higher genetic familiarity, knowledge, and skills compared to 2013, though 'room for improvement' remains, an AJHG paper finds.

Study Reveals Molecular, Clinical Features in Colorectal Cancer Cases Involving Multiple Primary Tumors

Researchers compare mismatch repair, microsatellite instability, and tumor mutation burden patterns in synchronous multiple- or single primary colorectal cancers.

FarGen Phase One Sequences Exomes of Nearly 500 From Faroe Islands

The analysis in the European Journal of Human Genetics finds few rare variants and limited geographic structure among Faroese individuals.