AUTM Newsbrief
Dec. 9, 2010

NIH denies patient bid to break Genzyme patent
Despite an ongoing shortage of a much-needed medication for Fabry's disease, the National Institutes of Health has denied a bid by three patients to obtain a license that would allow them to produce a new treatment. The move comes as Genzyme, which makes Fabrazyme, continues to struggle with supplies after more than a year of severe manufacturing problems. The patients petitioned the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last summer to override the use patents held by Genzyme on its medication, which is the only such treatment currently available for a rare, inherited disorder that causes kidney and heart problems. Genzyme, you may recall, recently agreed to pay $175 million as part of a consent decree for its manufacturing gaffes, including viral contamination, and is now the subject of a takeover bid by Sanofi-Aventis.More

Coming soon: Robot assistants in the emergency room
Fast Company
Would you trust a robot with your life? Researchers at Vanderbilt University are banking on it. Specialists in emergency medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and computer engineers at the university recently teamed up to develop the TriageBot, a robotic system designed to handle the 60 percent of patients who show up at emergency rooms with non-life threatening problems. Here's how the system could work: Registration clerks direct patients to robotic assistants that take patients through the registration process with touch-screens and voice prompts. If patients report potentially life-threatening information — chest pains, for example — the robotic assistants will immediately notify staff. Otherwise, patients are given a wait time and sent to the waiting room. More

Boulder's miRagen licenses microRNA technology
Daily Camera
Boulder-based miRagen Therapeutics Inc. announced that it has licensed exclusive rights to technology and intellectual property resulting from Germany's University of Frankfurt's efforts in using microRNA 92 as a therapeutic target within the body. Financial terms were not disclosed in the agreement between the privately held miRagen and t2cure, a German biotech that has an existing licensing agreement with the University of Frankfurt regarding miR-92. More

Forget the jumbotron — startup YinzCam gives fans control over replays
As an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, Priya Narasimhan was qualified to fix the problem of having someone taller in front of you at a sporting event. YinzCam, the academic project that Narasimhan launched as a business last year, allows fans at sporting events to control personal video feeds through their mobile devices. After they download the app, fans can select which camera view they would like to see. They can also watch a replay of every play from any of the angles. YinzCam debuted at the first home game of the Pittsburgh Penguins 2009 season. At the first game, about 10 fans tuned in. But by the last game, more than 55 percent of the pilot audience was using the app. The success has persuaded five other NFL and NHL teams to join in — including the Pittsburgh Steelers, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Washington Capitals. More

University of Minnesota licenses sensor technology to Minnesota startup
University of Minnesota via Pollution Online
United Science, a Minnesota startup company, has licensed sensor technology developed at the University of Minnesota that could prevent toxic byproducts of mining and other industries from ending up in the environment and improve productivity at the same time. Chemistry Associate Professor Philippe Buhlmann in the university's College of Science and Engineering developed the ion selective electrode sensor membrane. United Science will complete the design and commercialize the membrane technology, which is already being tested in the mining industry.More

Venture funding fuels University of Hawaii tech innovation
UH System Current News
The Upside Fund, a venture capital fund managed by the University of Hawaii Foundation in conjunction with the Hawai'i Strategic Development Corporation and the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii has invested $100,000 to help launch Protekai, Inc. Formed by Omar S. Sultan, Protekai, Inc. commercializes intellectual property developed in Angel Yanagihara's, Ph.D., research laboratory. Yanagihara is a researcher in the Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology in the University of Hawaii Mānoa's John A. Burns School of Medicine. During the course of 12 years of research, Yanagihara has discovered and patented Physalia Fluorescent Proteins. These proteins have the potential to create powerful new biomedical research and diagnostic tools.More

First US patient treated with the Accu2i percutaneous microwave tissue ablation device
BusinessWire via Benzinga
Microsulis Medical Limited, the leading company in microwave technology for medical devices, announced that the first U.S. patient was treated with the company's Accu2i percutaneous microwave tissue ablation system. The Accu2i pMTA system, which is now in worldwide distribution, is indicated for the coagulation of soft tissue during surgical procedures and recently received U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance. The procedure involved a patient with hepatocellular carcinoma, or primary liver cancer, and was performed by N. Joseph Espat, Ph.D., professor and chief, surgical hepatobiliary oncology at Roger Williams Medical Center, Boston University. More

Audax Medical gains rights to Brown regenerative nanotech
Mass High Tech
Medical device startup Audax Medical Inc. has gained exclusive rights from Brown University for Arxis, a biomaterial intended to help regenerate diseased bone and cartilage, the company reported. The company also has secured a deal for clinical development support from the Brown University School of Engineering and Department of Orthopedics. The terms of the deal call for Littleton-based Audax to gain an exclusive license to the technology and intellectual property relating to degenerative bone and tissue treatment co-developed by Brown engineering professor Thomas Webster. More

Academic amici refute ACLU falsehoods in gene patenting debate
Patent Docs
Two academic amici — Robert Cook-Deegan, research professor and director, Center for Public Genomics at Duke University, and Christopher Holman, Ph.D., associate professor of law, University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Law — filed a brief in the AMP v. USPTO appeal that rebuts many of the distorted arguments made by plaintiffs and their supporters against patent-eligibility for human genes. While disavowing any interest in the brief by either party or any other amicus, they state their purpose in filing the brief as: Our sole interest in this case is maintenance and development of a sensible patent system that accomplishes the constitutional goal of "promoting the Progress of Science and useful Arts," particularly in the area of genetic diagnostic testing, and more generally in biotechnology and life sciences.More