The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded not-for-profit research institution Southern Research a contract for an initial $901,048, with a possibility of increasing the amount up to nearly $3.9 million over the next two years, to expand research on the Zika virus. Funds will be used to develop a nonhuman primate model of Zika virus infections for product evaluation. Research will involve evaluating the pathogenicity of three different geographic isolates of Zika virus at increasing concentrations, and assessing the impact of prior exposure on immunity to subsequent infection with the same isolate, or a different isolate of the virus.

The Defense Health Program has funding opportunities for fiscal year 2016 in Parkinson's disease (PD) and epilepsy, among others. A "focused idea award" and an "impact award" are available in PD. In epilepsy, an "idea development award" is offered.

Noting that the number of patent infringement suits in the U.S. increased more than 150 percent from 2007 to 2015, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended that the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) improve the quality of the patents that are awarded. For example, the PTO should develop a consistent definition of patent quality and measurable, quantifiable goals and performance indicators related to patent quality, the GAO said. It also encouraged the PTO to analyze the time examiners need to perform a thorough patent examination and use results from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board proceedings to identify trends in patent quality issues that may need to be addressed through training, guidance or other actions.

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