* NaPro BioTherapeutics Inc., of Boulder, Colo., received patent No. 5,733,888, relating to a novel method of stabilizing formulations of paclitaxel. The patent is titled "Injectable Composition" and involves stabilizing paclitaxel in Cremophor EL and ethanol.
* NeXstar Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boulder, Colo., received two patents, No. 5,723,289 and No. 5,723,592, covering Parallel Selex, a process for the discovery of biologically active small molecules that may significantly reduce the time and cost of small molecule drug discovery and development.
* Ontogen Corp., of San Diego, received a patent for the use of imidazoles as modulators that restore the sensitivity of multi-drug resistant cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents.
* Pangea Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., received a notice of allowance for Ensphere, a microencapsulation system that improves the efficiency of DNA-based therapeutics and vaccines.
* Progenitor Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., was issued two patents relating to the diagnosis of hereditary hemochromatosis, an iron overload disorder that is the most common inherited disease. The two patents (Nos. 5,705,343 and 5,712,098) relate to using certain diagnostic markers to ascertain if hereditary hemochromatosis exists in individuals. One of these markers represents the specific gene mutation found in the majority of cases of hereditary hemochromatosis, which can then lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, diabetes and heart damage.
* Research Corp. Technologies (RCT), of Tucson, Ariz., received patent No. 5,725,854, for the of Sertoli cells to create immunoprivileged sites for various transplant therapies. Sertoli cells nourish and protect developing sperm in mammal testes. The patent ensures that Sertoli Technologies Inc. has use of Sertoli cells to create immunologically privileged sites in transplant recipients and to treat a variety of diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson's disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Sertoli Technologies is a Tucson company formed by RCT in 1996.
* Sparta Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Horsham, Pa., received a patent for a new series of retinoids in the treatment of cancer and precancerous conditions. The patent, No. 5,703,130, was titled "Chalcone Retinoids and Methods of Use of Same. Retinoids are a class of compounds related to vitamin A.
* T Cell Sciences Inc., of Needham, Mass., received a notice of allowance for a patent covering its TRAx Test Kit. The kit is an enzyme-linked immunoassay (EIA) using monoclonal antibodies for the measurement of specific T lymphocytes (white blood cells) in human blood samples. The TRAx assay results are read by a microtiter plate reader. The system can test several samples at once and can be stored at room temperature for up to five days. The company also received a patent covering sCR1sLe, a combined complement and selectin inhibitor that targets vascular inflammation using the sLe carbohydrate. T Cell Sciences will use the sCR1sLe for injuries such as strokes and myocardial infarctions where localized activation of platelets, endothelial cells and leukocytes is a problem.
* Targeted Genetics Corp., of Seattle, received patent No. 5,736,387, titled "Envelope fusion vectors for use in gene delivery," which covers use of chimeric proteins for targeting retroviral infection to specific cell types. Chimeric proteins are generated by fusing a portion of an intercellular signaling molecule and a portion of a retroviral envelope protein.
* Theratechnologies Inc., of Montreal, received a patent for its gene therapy approach based on the Vpr protein. The company uses the modified Vpr protein as a vehicle to target HIV and neutralize it.
* Transkaryotic Therapies Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., received a patent for producing human therapeutic proteins in cultured cells with its Gene Activation technology and for the DNA constructs for producing the cells themselves. Gene Activation uses regulatory and structural DNA sequences that allow the human gene to express the desired protein in a natural setting.
* Variagenics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass. received a patent covering Variagenic Targeting, an enabling technology for the discovery of anti-cancer therapeutics. The patent, No. 5,702,890, helps distinguish between cancerous and healthy cells so that the malignant cells can be targeted for treatment without affecting the normal cells.
* Visible Genetics Inc., of Toronto, received a notice of allowance for a new patent titled "Method for Single-Tube Sequencing of Nucleic Acid Polymers." The patent involves a method and kit for sequencing fragments directly from genomic DNA in a single tube. It simultaneously and rapidly produces sequence data that can be analyzed on a Visible Genetics OpenGene system. The company's OpenGene system uses stratified DNA testing and single-tube, single-step sequencing methods to find and identify disease-causing mutations.