BioWorld Today here continues its occasional listings of governmentagencies seeking industrial licensees and CRADA partners tocommercialize its biotech-related research and developmentinventions. These rights are offered by the National Institutes ofHealth, Office of Technology Transfer (OTT). Announcements of thefollowing two opportunities have been published recently to theFederal Register.

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

National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute

Transgenic Rabbits Protect Against Atherosclerosis

Rabbits that overexpress the human enzyme LCAT (lethicincholesterol acyltransferase) had six to seven-fold higher plasma LDL(low-density lipoprotein) levels than their non-transgenic siblings.Moreover, their atherogenic LDLs were decreased.

High HDL and low LDL levels led to marked protection against diet-induced atherosclerosis.

The NHLBI invites applications for a Cooperative Research andDevelopment Agreement (CRADA) to explore the feasibility of genetherapy utilizing the LCAT gene, for preventing atherosclerosis inpatients with premature cardiovascular disease, and to develop drugsthat raise LCAT levels in plasma.

Capability statements to support an expression of interest in thisCRADA opportunity must reach the NHLBI by Oct. 7, 1996, whichis 60 days from the Federal Register announcement dated Aug. 13,1996.

U. S. Patent applied for 5/22/95

Inventors: Brewer, Bryan et al.

Contact: Lili Portilla, (301) 404-5579

National Institute Of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases

Enzyme Alternative To PCR For Homologous Recombination

Escherichia coli RecA protein permits targeting restriction enzymecleavage to predetermined sites; sequence-specific mapping,manipulation, of complex genomes; diagnosing genetic mutations;developing therapeutics for control of gene expression (e.g., turningoff oncogenes or viral genes).

RecA can specifically target single-stranded DNA to complementaryduplex DNA, creating a three-stranded complex. In DNAamplification and isolation, this invention avoids error rates inherentin polymerase chain reaction, and the limited fragment size that PCRcan amplify.

Invention "shows great promise for improved genetic manipulation aswell as diagnostic and therapeutic applications and represents aplatform technology for genetic engineering," said its principalinventor.

NIDDK seeks one or more CRADA partners and/or applicants tolicense this RecA technology. Deadline for applications is 60 daysfrom the Federal Register announcement dated Aug. 13, 1996.

U.S. Patent No. 5,510,473, issued 4/23/96;

U.S. Patent No. 5,460,941, issued 10/24/95

Inventor: Camerini-Otero, Rafael, et al.

Contacts: For CRADA: Cyrus R. Creveling, (301) 496-5360; For licensing: Larry Tiffany, (301) 496-7735, ext. 206 n

Oncogene Acquires U.K.-Based Aston In Stock Deal

Oncogene Science Inc. strengthened its drug discovery capabilitieswith the acquisition of U.K.-based Aston Molecules for about 1percent of Oncogene's outstanding stock.

Oncogene, of Uniondale, N.Y., purchased Birmingham-based Astonfor 284,000 shares of stock on Thursday. At Oncogene's closingstock price of $9.13 Thursday the deal was valued at about $2.6million. Aston now is a wholly owned subsidiary.

The companies have been together since February 1994, when Astonbegan performing medicinal chemistry work for Oncogenecompounds in the areas of chronic myelogenous leukemia and HIV."The whole thing has evolved quite substantially since then," saidColin Goddard, Oncogene's executive vice president and chiefoperating officer. The past year they have been working on an EPO-enhancer program.

Aston was spun off from the University of Aston, in Birmingham,about five years ago and provides discovery and pharmaceuticaldevelopment services. The Aston operations will stay in Birmingham.

Goddard said now all Aston medicinal chemistry efforts will betargeted to Oncogene programs. Aston will continue to provideservices in areas such as formulation and drug stability to othercompanies. Goddard said that piece of the business is expected togenerate more than $500,000 in revenues next year.

"We will be investing heavily over there to build it into a high-speedanaloging and medicine chemistry unit for corporate Oncogene,"Goddard said.

Oncogene now has about 22.2 million shares outstanding with theacquisition. _ Jim Shrine

-- David N. Leff Science Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.