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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

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.