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Isis Pharmaceuticals and Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, Jefferson Medical College and the Kimmel Cancer Center, and Molecula


Isis Receives Macugen-Related Milestone Payment from Eyetech

Isis Pharmaceuticals said this week that it has received a $1 million milestone payment from Eyetech Pharmaceuticals in connection with Eyetech’s filing of a new drug application with US regulators for the age-related macular degeneration treatment Macugen.

Although Macugen is not an antisense agent, Eyetech licensed certain patents from Isis needed to develop, manufacture, and commercialize the drug, according to Isis.

“This milestone demonstrates the value of our large patent estate, and reflects our ongoing efforts to capture the many near and long-term opportunities our intellectual property provides,” Lynne Parshall, executive vice president and CFO of Isis, said in a statement. “In actively creating opportunities for the industry to access our patents, we are generating revenue for the continued development of our strong product portfolio, while supporting other companies in bringing important new products to market.”

Researchers Develop Microchip for MicroRNA Profiling

Researchers from Jefferson Medical College and the Kimmel Cancer Center of Thomas Jefferson University have developed an oligonucleotide microchip that allows for genome-wide microRNA profiling in human and mouse tissues, according to an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Led by Carlo Croce, of the Kimmel Cancer Center, the research team put oligos corresponding to 245 miRNAs from the human and mouse genomes on microchips. These were then used to reveal tissue-specific miRNA expression signatures that were confirmed by Northern blots, real-time PCR, and literature research, according to PNAS.

According to the researchers, the microchip oligolibrary can be expanded to include an increasing number of miRNAs discovered in a variety of species, and is useful for the analysis of both normal and disease states.

According to Croce, the microchip is expected to help improve researchers’ understanding of the role miRNAs play in cancer.

“The chip is an easy way to test for miRNA alterations,” he said in a statement. “When you look at a cancer, the chip will tell you which miRNAs are in fact there and which are not. Then you can study the targets and figure out their role in cancer,” he said.

Molecula Moves into New Facility

CalbaTech said last week that its subsidiary, Molecula, has moved into a new facility in Sterling, Va.

The new facility, said CalbaTech, provides Molecula with increased laboratory, manufacturing, and warehouse space.

“The new facility gives Molecula the opportunity to more effectively complete our cGMP compliance activities and acquire the necessary equipment to meet the needs of the high-throughput market,” Matt Maupin, CEO of Molecula, said in a statement.

CalbaTech noted that Molecula’s phone numbers will remain unchanged.


The Scan

Study Links Evolution of Longevity, Social Organization in Mammals

With the help of comparative phylogenetics and transcriptomics, researchers in Nature Communications see ties between lifespan and social organization in mammals.

Tumor Microenvironment Immune Score Provides Immunotherapy Response, Prognostic Insights

Using multiple in situ analyses and RNA sequence data, researchers in eBioMedicine have developed a score associated with immunotherapy response or survival.

CRISPR-Based Method for Finding Cancer-Associated Exosomal MicroRNAs in Blood

A team from China presents in ACS Sensors a liposome-mediated membrane fusion strategy for detecting miRNAs carried in exosomes in the blood with a CRISPR-mediated reporter system.

Drug Response Variants May Be Distinct in Somatic, Germline Samples

Based on variants from across 21 drug response genes, researchers in The Pharmacogenomics Journal suspect that tumor-only DNA sequences may miss drug response clues found in the germline.