BioWorld Today here continues its occasional listings of government agencies seeking industrial licensees to commercialize their biotechnology-related research and development inventions. Commercialization rights are offered by the National Institutes of Health, Office of Technology Transfer (OTT). Announcements of the following CRADA (Cooperative Research and Development Agreement) partnership and five licensing opportunities have been submitted recently to the Federal Register.

To obtain CRADA or licensing information and copies of the U.S. patent issuances or applications listed below, contact the OTT licensing specialists indicated.

National Cancer Institute

Basal Cell Carcinoma Tumor Suppressor Gene

Mutations of the PTC gene, which maps to chromosome 9, are present in individuals with nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome, a disease associated with skin cancer and human developmental defects. This gene selectively switches off growth factor production in certain cells by interacting with hedgehog gene family proteins, which affect organismal development. This gene, its encoded product and antibodies to the protein can be used for diagnosis and therapy.

Application: 60/017,906

Filed: 5/17/96

Inventors: Dean, M., et al.

Contact: Ken Hemby, (301) 496-7735, ext. 265

High-Throughput Visual Screening Of Steroid Antagonists

Cell lines containing multiple copies of a steroid transcriptional regulatory unit can be used to study the binding of steroid antagonists and agonists to DNA. Detection occurs by real-time, direct observation of the binding of fluorescently labeled compounds to cellular genes. This procedure can be used in high-throughput visual screening of potentially useful therapeutic ligands.

OTT references: E-021-96/0 & 1

Filed: 12/8/95

Inventors: Htun, H., et al.

Contact: Stephen Finley, (301) 496-7735, ext. 215

Detecting Alzheimer's Disease Using Cultured Cells

The cytogenic response of cultured skin fibroblasts or peripheral blood lymphocyte cells from Alzheimer's patients to fluorescent light in the presence or absence of a DNA repair inhibitor during the post-exposure period differs from that of normal individuals. Although previous studies showed that the cells of Alzheimer's patients were hypersensitive to the lethal effects of ionizing radiation, the differences in response seen were small. This improved assay results in a large enough effect to be diagnostically useful.

Application: 08/611,330

Filed: 3/8/96

Inventors: Sanford-Milfin, K.K., et al.

Contact: Leopold J. Luberecki, Jr., (301) 496-7735, ext. 223

National Institute Of Child Health & Human Development

Yeast Screening System for Antiviral Agents

Recombinantly engineered yeast cells can express the protein kinase PKR, which is a component of the interferon-induced antiviral defense system. During infection of mammalian cells, PKR is activated by binding double-stranded viral RNA in infected cells. This activation results in the down-regulation of cellular protein synthesis, thus impairing viral protein expression. Viruses overcome this impairment by expressing viral regulatory factors that block the effect of PKR. Because PKR inhibits growth in these recombinant yeast cells by reducing protein synthesis, these cells can be used as part of a high- throughput screen for identifying antiviral agents.

The NICHHD seeks partners to evaluate the usefulness of this system for high-throughput screens and to identify PKR inhibitors and agents that inactivate viral inhibitors of PKR. CRADA proposals should be received on or before 120 days after publication of this notice in the Federal Register. However, CRADA proposals submitted thereafter will be considered until a suitable collaborator is selected.

Contact: Gordon Guroff, (301) 496-4751

National Institute Of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases

NMDA Antagonists Reduce Aminoglycoside-Induced Hearing Loss

Aminoglycoside antibiotics such as neomycin and kanamycin are extremely effective in treating bacterial infections. However, they currently are used in only three percent of all clinical admissions because 30 to 40 percent of patients receiving them develop measurable hearing loss. By coadministering N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonists in a guinea pig model system, hearing loss was prevented or lessened in over 98 percent of the animals tested and 75 percent maintained normal hearing levels.

Application: 08/712,477

Issued: 9/11/96

Inventors: Basile, A., et al.

Contact: Stephen Finley, (301) 496-7735, ext. 215

National Institute Of Mental Health

Chromosomal Markers For Manic-Depressive Illness

Chromosome 18 has a genetic locus showing allelic variation that is associated with increased susceptibility to manic-depressive illness. However, not all patients respond similarly to a given medication for this disease, thus leading to the conclusion that multiple genes are involved. The genetic locus on chromosome 18 may provide a mechanism for predicting the efficacy of the various therapeutics used to treat this disease.

Application: 60/029,278

Issued: 10/28/96

Inventors: Detera-Wadleigh, S., et al.

Contact: Stephen Finley, (301) 496-7735, ext. 215

-- Chester A. Bisbee