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Cenix BioScience and Dresden s BioInnovation Center, Atugen and Sankyo, and Roche Diagnostics and Promega

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Cenix Moves Operations to New BioInnovation Center

Cenix BioScience announced this week that it has moved its operations into new facilities located within Dresden’s BioInnovation Center.

The company formerly was headquartered within the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, one of Cenix’s parent institutes.

The new location, said Cenix, includes more than 800 square meters of space where its expanding RNA-related research services may be conducted.

“The opportunity to grow up and mature as a company within the MPI-CBG has been an exceptional privilege and a true joy, for which we at Cenix are very thankful,” Cenix CEO and CSO Christophe Echeverri said in a statement. “The new location is only two blocks away from the MPI-CBG, so we look forward to maintaining our existing tight contacts there and also adding an important new dimension to the growing life science research landscape in Dresden.”


Atugen Inks Research Deal with Sankyo

Atugen said this week that it has signed a multi-year agreement to use its gene-silencing technology to assist Japanese drug maker Sankyo validate an undisclosed number of targets.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We have already worked with [Sankyo] on a pilot study so our two research teams have established a working routine,” Atugen CSO Klaus Giese said in a statement. “Our knowledge and experience in target validation and disease pathways will save considerable time for Sankyo by validating targets that will lead to the most viable drugs.”


Roche Calls Court Rejection of Promega PCR Claims a Victory

In the latest chapter of a patent dispute that began in 1992, Roche Diagnostics has claimed a “substantial legal victory” following a California US District Court ruling that blocked Promega’s effort to overturn several patents in Roche’s PCR intellectual property portfolio.

The court yesterday rejected Promega’s claim that two of Roche’s “foundational” PCR process patents (US Patent Nos. 4,683,195 and 4,683,202) were unenforceable. Another Roche patent (US Patent No. 4,889,818), which covers the thermostable DNA polymerase enzyme from Thermus aquaticus, or “Taq,” is still considered unenforceable, however, due to a previous finding of “inequitable conduct” — or misrepresentations to the patent office — on the part of Roche in obtaining the ‘818 patent. Roche said it plans to appeal this determination, which was overturned by the appellate court in a previous round of the litigation battle.

Lanny Davis, outside counsel to Roche, told RNAi News’ sister publication GenomeWeb News that Roche is also claiming a second, “more important” victory than the court’s decision to reject Promega’s effort to overturn the core PCR technology patents. The California court’s ruling will also enable Roche to proceed with a lawsuit against Promega alleging that Promega tried to induce its customers to break their Roche PCR licenses and buy from Promega, he said.

“Promega asked the court to block our ability to go forward to obtain substantial monetary damages in the millions of dollars from Promega for this alleged theft of our intellectual property and the inducement of our customers to break their contracts,” Davis said. “The judge yesterday rejected Promega’s effort to block our going forward in that lawsuit, so starting today we are going to vigorously prosecute our claims against Promega for interfering with our customer relationships.”

Promega, meanwhile, issued a strongly worded statement emphasizing the unenforcability of the ‘818 patent, and Roche’s alleged inequitable conduct. “This decision upholds the integrity of scientific innovation,” said Randall Dimond, vice president and chief technical officer of Promega. “Over a decade of legal obstacles couldn’t hide the fact that the US Patent Office was deceived by intentional misrepresentation and outright fabrication to gain an economic monopoly. The decision is unequivocal and definitive. It goes beyond simply clearing Promega, as it means that scientists have been burdened with undue royalty costs in the purchase of Taq.”

In addition, Promega said that it was invited by the court to submit further evidence on the enforceability of the ‘195 and ‘202 PCR patents.

The Scan

Two J&J Doses

Johnson & Johnson says two doses of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine provides increased protection against symptomatic COVID-19, CNN reports.

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Response in Kids

The Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in a lower-dose format appears to generate an immune response among children, according to the Washington Post.

Chicken Changes to Prevent Disease

The Guardian writes that researchers are looking at gene editing chickens to help prevent future pandemics.

PNAS Papers on Siberian Dog Ancestry, Insect Reproduction, Hippocampal Neurogenesis

In PNAS this week: ancestry and admixture among Siberian dogs, hormone role in fruit fly reproduction, and more.