Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tech Spotlight: MHC-II-related Protein Mediates Apoptotic Cell Death

A research group led by John Cambier of the University of Colorado has identified and cloned a novel plasma membrane tetraspanner (MPYS, or MPHS in human), and determined that it is essential for induction of the MHC II mediated apoptotic death response. He has further shown that it mediates its effect in part through activation of p44/p42 MAPK. Reduction of this protein’s expression by >90% using short-hairpin RNA (shRNA) dramatically reduces  anti-MHC II mAb-induced death of lymphoma cells. Thus, MPYS may function in cell death responses by activating signaling pathways that impinge on survival signaling.

To read a non-confidential summary of this technology, please click the image above. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tech Spotlight: Environmentally-friendly, High-density Fluorescent PCR Labeling Techniques for Nucleic Acids

Many molecular biology techniques rely on the ability to label DNA and RNA with detectable markers. CU researchers led by Robert Kuchta have developed fluorescent cytosine triphosphate (dCTP) analogues for use in PCR and subsequent DNA analysis. This technology improves the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) by generating simple, high quality, immediate visualization of PCR products, and eliminates the conventionally required staining step involving toxic ethidium bromide. Analogue compounds are incorporated into products through a modified PCR technique with a higher denaturing temperature and readily available DNA polymerase.

This research group has also developed a method for the synthesis of fluorescently labeled RNA based on the incorporation of the fluorescent cytidine analogue tCTP by T7 RNA polymerase in transcription. This methodology can be used to directly detect RNA without the use of radioactivity or staining, and can also be used to generate fluorescent aptamers for detecting specific analytes.

To read a non-confidential summary of this technology, please click the image above. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.

Friday, December 18, 2009

December 2009 Newsletter Now Available

Highlights from TTO's December 2009 newsletter:

Viral Genetics Licenses CU Technologies for Immune Disease, Cancer
TTO has executed two licenses with biotechnology company Viral Genetics, Inc. for technologies developed by M. Karen Newell, Ph. D., a professor of biology at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. The first license (view press release) expanded a previous agreement allowing Viral Genetics to develop treatments for autoimmune diseases, graft rejection, HIV, and cancer based on Newell's work targeting an early interaction in the cascade of events that results in T cell activation, a central component of the body's immune response. The second license (view press release) grants exclusive rights to Newell's work on "metabolic disruption technology" (MDT) - a technology that blocks invasive cells' ability to generate energy from sugars or fatty acids. The MDT technology will be developed at MetaCytoLytics, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Viral Genetics.

Soligenix Options CU Vaccine Thermostabilization Technology
Soligenix, Inc. announced in November that it has formed a consortium to develop thermostable technology to advance its RiVaxTM and other rapidly acting vaccines. Soligenix received a $9.4 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to support this work. As part of the initiative, Soligenix has executed an option agreement with the University of Colorado coverning novel technology to develop vaccines that can maintain stability at elevated temperatures. This new technology will form the cornerstone of the company's R&D effort, which will involve the development of formulation and manufacturing processes for vaccines, including RiVaxTM, that are stable at elevated temperatures.

Read the full newsletter, or sign up to receive a monthly email update.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tech Spotlight: Mutant Cholera Holotoxin as a Powerful Vaccine Adjuvant

Researchers from the University of Colorado, in co-development with a major pharmaceutical company, have created four novel mutant, immunogenic forms of cholera holotoxin (CT-CRMs) that have significantly reduced toxicity compared to a wild-type CT, but which retain their ability as powerful stimulators of the immune system. These CT-CRMs are desirably generated by site-directed mutagenesis, and are useful as adjuvants in immunogenic compositions to enhance the immune response in a vertebrate host to a selected antigen from a pathogenic  bacterium, virus, fungus, or parasite, a cancer cell, a tumor cell, an allergen, or a self-molecule.

To read a non-confidential summary of this technology, please click the image above. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New License Agreement with University of Colorado Gives Viral Genetics, Inc., Right to Develop Cancer Therapies

Colorado Springs (December 8, 2009).Biotechnology company Viral Genetics, Inc. has entered into an exclusive license agreement with the University of Colorado to develop cancer therapies based on the work of M. Karen Newell, Ph. D., a professor of biology at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. This new line of research will be pursued by scientists at MetaCytoLytics, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Viral Genetics.

Newell has discovered a process called “metabolic disruption technology” (MDT) that blocks invasive cells’ ability to generate energy from sugars or fatty acids. In essence, MDT “starves” cancer cells, causing them to die. As proof of principle, Newell’s team at the University of Colorado has performed over 400 metabolic disruption technology experiments in vitro and in animal models.

“The team at Viral Genetics has the knowledge and experience to develop these technologies into products that may ultimately change the way we understand and develop drugs and processes for a variety of human related applications,” said David Allen, CU associate vice president for technology transfer. The licensed intellectual property portfolio includes related technology developed by Newell at the University of Vermont.

“This agreement enables us to pursue new lines of research with Dr. Newell,” said Viral Genetics CEO Haig Keledjian. “Her latest discoveries have tremendous potential to help patients with drug-resistant tumors, the leading cause of death due to cancer.” According to Newell, MDT is expected to be combined with traditional chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Newell believes that the same process may also be used to create more effective biofuels by increasing polyunsaturated fats in plant cells.

Tech Spotlight: Stabilized Liquid Antibody Formulations for Parenteral Administration

A University of Colorado research group led by Theodore Randolph and John Carpenter has developed a technique for concentration and production of stable, ready-to-use liquid formulations of any antibody that exhibits certain phase behaviors, as well as methods to identify which antibodies can be formulated using these techniques. These antibody formulations may be   therapeutic or prophylactic antibodies, useful in the treatment and/or management of various diseases; these formulations can also be used to diagnose, detect or monitor disease associated with various disease conditions. Proof of concept studies were demonstrated using proprietary mAbs, though this technique is not limited to the antibodies tested. The stable liquid formulations of antibodies exhibit stability, low to undetectable levels of antibody fragmentation and/or aggregation, and very little to no loss of the biological activities of the antibodies (including antibody fragments thereof) during manufacture, preparation, transportation, and storage, as assessed by, for example, high performance size exclusion chromatography (HPSEC).

To read a non-confidential summary of this technology, please click the image above. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Viral Genetics Licenses CU Immune Disease Therapeutic Platforms

CU technology enables a new approach to treating cancer, autoimmune disease and infection.
   
Colorado Springs (December 3, 2009). The University of Colorado and Viral Genetics, Inc., (VRAL.PK) recently executed an exclusive license agreement expanding its previous agreement allowing Viral Genetics to develop treatments for autoimmune diseases, graft rejection, HIV, and cancer based on the work of Dr. M. Karen Newell, a professor of biology at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Newell’s recent work has uncovered a drug target that may offer a new strategy in treating a wide variety of immune-related disorders and diseases. Cancer, HIV, lupus, Type I diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are all among the disorders that may be treatable using this approach. Newell’s work targets an early interaction in the cascade of events that results in T cell activation, a central component of the body’s immune response. This approach allows for more targeted control over the body’s immune response against its own and other cells.

“We are confident that Viral Genetics has the capacity to develop these technologies into products with significant impact in these fields,” said David Allen, CU Associate Vice President for Technology Transfer.

“This agreement enables us to work towards bringing a diverse array of drug therapies to the market, all based on technology developed by Dr. Newell,” said Viral Genetics CEO Haig Keledjian. “The synergy between our current work with Dr. Newell and this new line of research made this agreement a natural fit.”

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tech Spotlight: Treatment of Lung and Other Vascular Injury using Bone Marrow Derived Angiogenic Cells

Drs. Balasubramaniam and Abman of the University of Colorado have developed a treatment using bone marrow derived angiogenic cells (BMDAC) to increase growth of vascular tissue following injury, showing promise as a treatment for ischemic heart disease, stroke, BPD, and other vascular injuries including those involving the heart or brain. To test their compounds and methods Drs. Balasubramaniam and Abman used an experimental animal model that induces changes in lung structure, which mimics the histology observed in human infants with BPD. From these experiments they have in vitro evidence confirming that engraftment of BMDACs in the lung stimulate new alveolar and vascular growth and enhance restoration of normal lung structure following induced hyperoxic injury (click on summary for statistical details). Method of administration of this compound can be by surgical engraftment, oral administration or by parenteral administration such as intravenous injection.

To read a non-confidential summary of this technology, please click the image above. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.