Curis Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., was issued U.S. Patent No. 6,630,148 titled "Compositions Comprising Hedgehog Proteins." Its claims cover pharmaceutical compositions containing Hedgehog signaling proteins, which are characterized in terms of the DNA sequences that encode the proteins, as well as certain biological activities associated with the pathway.

Discovery Laboratories Inc., of Doylestown, Pa., received U.S. Patent No. 6,613,734 titled "Peptide-Containing Liposomal Surfactants." The composition-of-matter patent covers a variety of combinations of peptides, proteins and other molecules related to the company's humanized pulmonary surfactant technology, as well as methods of making and using the molecules.

Immtech International Inc., of Vernon Hills, Ill., said the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and its research collaborators were awarded patents related to the use of amidine-containing compounds that are inhibitors of Imidazoline receptors. Immtech, which has exclusive licensing rights to the compounds, said drugs that target these receptors are potential treatments for Alzheimer's disease, Type II diabetes, hypertension and depression.

Paradigm Genetics Inc., of Research Triangle Park, Calif., received U.S. Patent No. 6,632,631 titled "Methods for the Identification of Inhibitors of Homocitrate Synthase as Antibiotics," covering a gene target (homocitrate synthase) in the biosynthetic pathway by which fungi produce lysine, as well as methods enabling the discovery of chemicals that inhibit enzymatic steps within the lysine pathway.

Repligen Corp., of Waltham, Mass., received a notice of allowance for a patent covering the use of CTLA4-Ig for rheumatoid arthritis. The patent, which will remain in force until 2020, also covers a method of treating multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosis and scleroderma with CTLA4-Ig and the use of CTLA4-Ig in combination with other immunosuppressants. Repligen owns the exclusive rights to this patent through a license agreement with The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the U.S. Navy. It is independent from patents on CTLA4-Ig that are the subject of a lawsuit brought by Repligen and the university against Bristol-Myers Squibb Corp., of New York.

Ribonomics Inc., of Durham, N.C., was issued U.S. Patent No. 6,635,422 titled "Methods for isolating and characterizing endogenous mRNA-Protein (mRNP) Complexes," providing additional intellectual property protection for its Ribonomics Analysis System - technology that allows the isolation and characterization of functionally related genes in vitro and in vivo.

VIRxSYS Corp., of Gaithersburg, Md., was issued U.S. Patent No. 6,627,442 titled "Methods for stable transduction of cells with viral vectors," covering a method for achieving greater than 90 percent stable transduction of primary hematopoietic cells by HIV-based lentiviral vectors. More specific claims cover methods for stable gene delivery to lymphocytes, dendritic cells and hematopoietic stem cells.

Xencor Inc., of Monrovia, Calif., was awarded U.S. Patent No. 6,627,186 titled "Nucleic Acids and Protein Variants of G-CSF with Granulopoietic Activity." It covers a range of G-CSF variants, molecules Xencor said were designed with its Protein Design Automation technology with enhanced stability and novel sequences while matching the biological activity of native G-CSF.