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Rosetta Genomics, New York University School of Medicine, Exiqon, Rosetta Inpharmatics, Regulus Therapeutics, Aktiv-Dry, CDC

Rosetta Expands NYU School of Medicine Collaboration to Include Heart Disease
Rosetta Genomics this week said that it has expanded its microRNA collaboration with the New York University School of Medicine to include congenital heart disease.
Under the expanded collaboration, the partners will screen for specific miRNA biomarkers and signatures that may be used to diagnose and treat congenital heart conditions in newborns, Rosetta said.
Rosetta already works with the NYU School of Medicine on the development of a miRNA-based diagnostic for melanoma (see RNAi News, 9/13/2007).

Exiqon Licenses miRNA Analysis Technology from Rosetta Inpharmatics
Exiqon said this week that it has licensed microRNA analysis technology from Merck subsidiary Rosetta Inpharmatics. 
The license covers real-time PCR technology used in quantitative miRNA analysis. The technology was developed for microRNA biomarker analysis at Merck.
Exiqon said it will use the technology in a product line for detecting miRNA that it plans to release later this year.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
“Being able to market quantitative real-time PCR products for miRNA analysis complements the current product offerings based on microarrays, in situ detection and knockdown products for miRNA research and expands Exiqon’s offerings for microRNA biomarker analysis,” said Exiqon CEO Lars Kongsbak.

Regulus Says US Patent Office to Issue miRNA Patent Related to HCV
Regulus Therapeutics, a joint venture between Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Isis Pharmaceuticals, said this week that the US Patent and Trademark Office has issued a notice of allowance for a patent application related to targeting a specific microRNA to inhibit hepatitis C.
The patent application, No. 20050288245,is entitled “Methods and Compositions for Reducing Viral Genome Amounts in a Cell.” Regulus is developing a drug targeting miR-122 as a treatment for HCV.
Regulus acquired the rights to the patent application when Alnylam and Isis co-exclusively licensed it and other miRNA-related IP from Stanford University in 2005 (see RNAi News, 9/16/2005).
Alnylam and Isis exclusively licensed all their IP related to therapeutic uses of miRNAs to Regulus when the new company was formed earlier this year (see RNAi News, 9/13/2007).


Aktiv-Dry Announces CDC Grant to Develop Dry Powder siRNA Products
Aktiv-Dry, a dry powder processing firm, said last week that it has been awarded a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to formulate certain siRNA products as inhalable dry powders for treating pulmonary disorders such as respiratory syncytial virus.
Specific details of the grant project were not disclosed.
A request for comment from Aktiv-Dry officials was not returned.

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.