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August 2007

Third Wave stock shoots up

By Judy Newman

Third Wave Technologies stock zoomed up Tuesday on the strength of a court ruling seen as favorable to the Madison biotech company in its legal battle with Digene Corp., a Gaithersburg, Md., company about five times its size.

Shares closed at $7.39, up $1.49, or 25 percent, after soaring as high as $8.42 in early trading, the highest the stock has hit since December 2004. Volume was an unusually heavy 2.8 million shares.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb, in a ruling known as a Markman order, agreed with Third Wave's definitions of key terms forming the battleground in Digene's claim that Third Wave has violated its patents.

"One would think that that would strengthen Third Wave's defense against Digene," said Quintin Lai, biotech research analyst for Robert W. Baird & Co., Milwaukee, in a telephone interview.

Full story.


Neurognostics Signs Partnership Agreement with Psychological and Neurobehavioral Services, P.A.

July 24, 2007 (Lakeland, FL) - Neurognostics, a Milwaukee-based medical imaging company, has signed an agreement with Dr. Steven J. Porter, Psy.D., and Dr. Tracey G. Henley, Psy.D., of Psychological and Neurobehavioral Services, P.A., for the purchase and installation of the MindState fDAD Functional MR Imaging (fMRI) suite of products and services, and the creation of a paradigm-specific normative fMRI database for improved Central Nervous System (CNS) disorder detection and treatment.

"We are extremely excited to be working with Neurognostics to expand the capabilities of functional MRI," says Dr. Steven Porter, Psy.D.  "By creating a functional imaging database of healthy individuals, we will gain clinical insights into the functionality differences of patients with neurodegenerative and/or neuropsychological disorders like Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, Dementia, and ADHD."

Functional MR imaging has the potential to dramatically increase our knowledge of debilitating CNS disorders.  Because fMRI is a non-invasive alternative for clinicians and researchers to study brain function, multiple tests can easily be performed to track disease progression or evaluate the efficacy of therapeutic interventions.  By simplifying the administration of an fMRI exam, Neurognostics also provides physicians with a reliable and cost effective way to provide their patients with the best possible imaging options.

"It is truly rewarding to be working with doctors who are so dedicated to improving clinical insights into CNS disorder detection and management" says Cathy Elsinger, Vice President of Research and Clinical Operations at Neurognostics.  "By partnering with Dr. Porter and Dr. Henley, we can expand our research capabilities and clinical products to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from these neurodegenerative disorders."

About Neurognostics, Inc.
Neurognostics is a leading provider of integrated Functional MR Imaging (fMRI) solutions. fMRI is a powerful imaging technique that extends the capability of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) by providing information about the functionality of imaged brain tissue. Neurognostics has applied over a decade of research to standardize fMRI technology and extend its use in a variety of clinical settings. The Neurognostics integrated fMRI system supplies health care providers with state of the art functional imaging technology; integrating easily with existing devices and simplifying the application of fMRI.


UWM to go solo in tech

UW Board of Regents OKs move to its own patenting, licensing, spin-offs

By KATHLEEN GALLAGHER
kgallagher@journalsentinel.com
Posted: July 17, 2007

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has won approval to go it alone when it comes to patenting, licensing and spinning off companies from campus inventions and discoveries.

Armed with a huge desire to increase its relatively small research effort, and strong support from UW System President Kevin Reilly, the school asked the UW System Board of Regents for permission to break away from a systemwide tech transfer program and manage its own intellectual property.

The regents unanimously approved the request at a regularly scheduled meeting on Friday.

The decision gives UWM the freedom to take on the difficult task of building a technology transfer office, and separates it from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, or WARF, a tech transfer powerhouse.

It also means the loss of the biggest consumer of services for WiSys Technology.

Full story.


UW loses bid for bio-threat laboratory

Backers say center would have benefited state agriculture

By KATHLEEN GALLAGHER
kgallagher@journalsentinel.com
Posted: July 11, 2007

Anthrax, bird flu and other deadly biological threats are headed for another state.

That's a bad thing, according to people involved in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's failed bid to win a $450 million grant for a lab that will study deadly animal illnesses, such as bird flu, and other contagions such as anthrax and smallpox.

The Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday it has whittled down to five the list of 17 finalists for the 520,000-square-foot National Bio- and Agro-Defense Lab. The lab will replace an aging facility at Plum Island, N.Y., that was criticized for security lapses after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

According to the office of Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), the winning bids came from San Antonio; Athens, Ga.; Manhattan, Kan.; Madison County, Miss.; and Durham and Granville counties, N.C. The U.S. senators for all five states that made the final cut are Republicans.

UW-Madison had proposed putting the lab on land it owns southeast of Madison, in the Town of Dunn. A number of residents protested the idea of the mammoth building, which will have the highest-level security rating.

The university was disappointed with the decision, it said in a statement.

Full story.


Teen experimenting in fields of study

By DIANA SROKA
dsroka@journalsentinel.com
Posted: July 8, 2007

It's hard to believe Philip Streich is only 16.

Streich, a home-schooled student who lives on a farm in Platteville, already has college credit from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and Stanford University. Although he hasn't decided on a career in science yet, last year he dedicated himself to researching nanotubes - tiny, thin cylinders of carbon.

In March, Streich won the science competition at the Badger State Science & Engineering Fair for his project "Determining Carbon Nanotubes' Thermodynamic Solubility: The Missing Link to a Practical Supermaterial?" He advanced to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May in Albuquerque, N.M., and was among the three grand-prize winners, receiving a $50,000 college scholarship, about $30,000 in bonds and cash and a trip to Beijing.

Full story.



TomoTherapy has hit the ground flying

By JUDY NEWMAN 608-252-6156

TomoTherapy is on the runway, mapping plans to sell its cancer radiation therapy machines throughout Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, after its well-received initial public stock offering on May 9.

The plumped-up stock sale, with more shares sold at a higher price than expected, netted the Madison company $185 million -- "almost a guarantee of a three- to five-year growth plan for the company," said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

But it's not just TomoTherapy that scored a success through its IPO. The entire tech community in the Madison area is shining more brightly now and that should make it easier for other up-and-coming tech businesses in the region to raise money, said John Neis, senior partner with Venture Investors. The investment firm is TomoTherapy's largest stockholder.

Full story.


Fat Kills Cancer: Turning Stem Cells Taken from Fat Tissue into Personalized, Cancer-Targeted Therapeutics

July 3, 2007

 

PHILADELPHIA - Researchers in Slovakia have been able to derive mesenchymal stem cells from human adipose, or fat, tissue and engineer them into "suicide genes" that seek out and destroy tumors like tiny homing missiles. This gene therapy approach is a novel way to attack small tumor metastases that evade current detection techniques and treatments, the researchers conclude in the July 1 issue of Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

"These fat-derived stem cells could be exploited for personalized cell-based therapeutics," said the study's lead investigator, Cestmir Altaner, Ph.D., D.Sc., an associate professor in the Cancer Research Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava. "Nearly everyone has some fat tissue they can spare, and this tissue could be a source of cells for cancer treatment that can be adapted into specific vehicles for drug transport."

Mesenchymal stem cells help repair damaged tissue and organs by renewing injured cells. They are also found in the mass of normal cells that mix with cancer cells to make up a solid tumor. Researchers believe mesenchymal stem cells "see" a tumor as a damaged organ and migrate to it, and so might be utilized as a "vehicle" for treatment that can find both primary tumors and small metastases. These stem cells also have some plasticity, which means they can be converted by the micro environment of a given tissue into specialized cells, Altaner says.

Full story.


Scientists attack UW patents

By DAVID WAHLBERG
608-252-6125

Challengers to UW-Madison's stem-cell patents have enlisted some high-profile scientists to argue that the federal government's preliminary rejection of the patents should be upheld.

Doug Melton, a co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, said in a declaration released Monday that UW-Madison scientist James Thomson achieved his stem-cell discoveries in 1998 because of his access to money and materials, not because of ground-breaking science.

Full story.