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Biotech start-up developing patch to deliver drugs

Injecting a dose of vision
Biotech start-up developing patch to deliver drugs
By KATHLEEN GALLAGHER
kgallagher@journalsentinel.com
Posted: July 29, 2005

Tony Escarcega spent 20 hours trolling the patent archives of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's technology transfer arm before finding five ideas he thought could spawn a good company.

He talked to all five inventors and whittled the list down to one promising technology: a large-molecule-drug delivery patch.

Escarcega became partners with a graduate student working on the technology, and the two spent five months tweaking a business plan.

The result is Ratio - a start-up biotech company that won the $10,000 prize in UW-Madison's G. Steven Burrill Technology Business Plan Competition. The company also has been recommended by the board of the school's Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship Fund to receive a $100,000 equity investment.

Full story.

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Large New World Discovered Beyond Neptune

Large New World Discovered Beyond Neptune
By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
posted: 29 July 2005
11:08 am ET

A newfound object in our solar system's outskirts may be larger than any known world after Pluto, scientists said today.

It also has a moon.

Designated as 2003 EL61, the main object in the two-body system is 32 percent as massive as Pluto and is estimated to be about 70 percent of Pluto's diameter.

Other news reports that the object could be twice as big as Pluto are false, according to two astronomers who found the object in separate studies and another expert who has analyzed the data.

If the mass is only one-third that of Pluto, then theory holds that it can't be larger than Pluto, according to Brian Marsden of the Minor Planet Center, which serves as a clearinghouse for data on all newfound objects in the solar system.

Full story.

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Len Seward Joins Neurognostics

For Immediate Release:

Len Seward Joins Neurognostics as Vice President of Sales

Milwaukee, WI, July 28, 2005 – Neurognostics, Inc., a company specializing in functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) products and services, is pleased to announce Len Seward as new Vice President of Sales. With over 17 years of experience in medical device sales, Seward brings a distinguished track record of industry experience in sales and marketing.

As a key member of Neurognostics’ executive team, Seward is responsible for expanding the sales of Neurognostics’ MindState product line through direct and indirect channels, leveraging his experience in building start-up sales, and building a sales team to accommodate nationwide sales of the company’s products and services.

Continue reading "Len Seward Joins Neurognostics" »

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NIH, Biotech Firms Oppose Grant Rules

NIH, Biotech Firms Oppose Grant Rules
Letter to Small-Business Agency Says Venture Capital Shouldn't Be Capped

By Anjali Athavaley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 28, 2005; Page D05

Biotechnology firms lobbying for access to Small Business Administration funding have gained support from the National Institutes of Health.

In a letter written last month and released yesterday by a biotech organization, NIH director Elias A. Zerhouni asked SBA chief Hector V. Barreto to waive restrictions on awarding SBA research grants to firms owned by venture capital investors.

Full story.

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Richard Branson and Burt Rutan Form Spacecraft Building Company

Richard Branson and Burt Rutan Form Spacecraft Building Company
By Leonard David
Senior Space Writer
posted: 27 July 2005
03:09 pm ET

British entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson, has teamed up with aerospace designer, Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites to form a new aerospace production company. The new firm will build a fleet of commercial suborbital spaceships and launch aircraft.

Called The Spaceship Company, the new entity will manufacture launch aircraft, various spacecraft and support equipment and market those products to spaceliner operators. Clients include launch customer, Virgin Galactic—formed by Branson to handle space tourist flights.

The Spaceship Company is jointly owned by Branson’s Virgin Group and Scaled Composites of Mojave, California. Scaled will be contracted for research and development testing and certification of a 9-person SpaceShipTwo (SS2) design, and a White Knight Two (WK2) mothership to be called Eve. Rutan will head up the technical development team for the SS2/WK2 combination.

Drawing from SpaceShipOne technology

The announcement was made today at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) AirVenture gathering being held July 25-31 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The yearly event spotlights homebuilt aircraft, antiques, classics, warbirds, ultralights, rotorcraft—as well as the emerging commercial spaceflight business.

Full story.

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Third Wave continues 2nd phase

Third Wave continues 2nd phase
00:00 am 7/28/05
Judy Newman Wisconsin State Journal

Third Wave Technologies saw its losses grow in the March-June quarter, but the Madison biotechnology company said that's just what it expected as it continued to change its focus.

Third Wave reported a $5.5 million second-quarter loss, or 13 cents a diluted share, on revenue of $5.8 million. That's a drop from a $106,000 net loss, or 0 cents a diluted share, on $12.6 million revenue for the same period last year.

The decline reflects Third Wave's decision to target its products for clinical patient diagnosis instead of research labs. Research revenue fell by $8 million from the 2004 second quarter, while clinical diagnostic sales, at $4.3 million, were up from $3.4 million a year ago.

"While the long-anticipated decline in research revenue may cloud the company's top- line story in the short term, our second-quarter results show that the investments we have made and will continue to make in molecular diagnostic product development and distribution are beginning to pay off," John Puisis, president and chief executive officer, said in a written statement.

Full story.

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Plastic gains flexibility

Plastic gains flexibility
State's businesses benefit from advances
By RICK BARRETT
rbarrett@journalsentinel.com
Posted: July 26, 2005

Plastic parts so small they can be seen only with a microscope.

Plastic walls that capture light.

Corn fibers in plastic to make car bumpers.

These are just some of the promising products and technologies under development in the plastics industry, which is an integral part of Wisconsin's economy. The state ranks about 10th in the nation for employment in plastics manufacturing and 12th for plastics shipments, which total more than $10 billion a year, according to industry sources.

Advances in areas such as polymers and resins are critical to the industry's survival, said Jay Smith, president of Teel Plastics Inc., a Baraboo manufacturer that also does research.

"Plastics is one area where I believe the United States leads other countries," Smith said. "There aren't a lot of those product areas today, but plastics is one of them."

The use of nanoparticles, measured as 1 billionth of a meter, is one of the hottest areas in plastics. Essentially, the tiny bits of materials are added as filler to change the way plastics behave.

Full story.

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State tech firms gain tax equity in budget

State tech firms gain tax equity in budget

The Capital Times
July 27, 2005

The state budget signed into law Monday by Gov. Jim Doyle puts technology companies on equal footing with other businesses by extending the so-called single-sales factor tax treatment to tech firms.

Two years ago, the state began a phase-in of the single-sales factor tax treatment for firms in other business sectors, such as manufacturing.

Under current state law, Wisconsin-based tech companies face the threat of double taxation when they make sales outside Wisconsin: By Wisconsin, which has treated out-of-state sales as Wisconsin sales, and by the destination state. A Wisconsin firm's corporate income tax has been determined using a formula that included the value of in-state property and payroll, as well as sales.

Starting with this year, revenues from the licensing of computer software and services will be treated as Wisconsin revenue only if the purchaser of the software or services uses them in Wisconsin.


Full story.

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Should kids be used in clinical research?

Should kids be used in clinical research?
Doctors, others debate the ethics

By ANGELA GALLOWAY
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

For Hunter Fulton, the best part of participating in the advancement of medicine is the $20 gift certificates.

And what's an extra blood test each year and a few survey questions if the 11-year-old with Type 1 diabetes can help the greater good?

"I like to do it," said Hunter of Seattle's Wedgwood neighborhood. "I know that it will help them try to find a cure."

But it would be another matter if doctors wanted to test experimental drugs on him, Hunter said. He wouldn't do that -- not for $100 gift certificates. "Maybe $1 million."

That line between routine, barely invasive research and riskier clinical experimentation drives even the nation's top regulators, ethicists and researchers into intense and sometimes contentious debate. About 200 such professionals gathered in Seattle last weekend to grapple with how such studies should be regulated -- and how to deal with huge loopholes in the laws. The Center for Pediatric Bioethics, which is part of Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, sponsored the conference.

Full story.

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Microsoft Vista May Face Trademark Trouble

Microsoft Vista May Face Trademark Trouble

By ELIZABETH M. GILLESPIE
The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 26, 2005; 9:06 PM

SEATTLE -- There's a line of sewing machines, an elevator monitoring system, even a brand of detergent used to clean dairy equipment _ all bearing the brand name Vista. There are plenty of computer products that claim the Vista trademark, too.

So Microsoft Corp.'s choice of Vista as the name for the next version of its Windows operating system has some intellectual property experts wondering if a company that has been fiercely protective of its own trademarks will get hauled into court.

"It seems like they were a little lax in their intellectual property due diligence _ maybe because they're so big, maybe because they're so powerful, maybe because they feel they can do anything they want," said James T. Berger, a Chicago-area marketing communications consultant who teaches at Northwestern and Roosevelt universities.

Full story.

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Doyle cuts $2 million from biotech proposal

Doyle cuts $2 million from biotech proposal
Alliance expects governor will help it find other funding
By KATHLEEN GALLAGHER
kgallagher@journalsentinel.com
Posted: July 25, 2005

Milwaukee area business and higher education leaders said Monday that they were disappointed but remain optimistic about future funding after Gov. Jim Doyle used a veto to slash money for a southeastern Wisconsin research alliance.

The $2.5 million proposal, which was adopted by the Legislature with bipartisan support, was cut to $500,000 by the governor, who issued 139 vetoes and put his finishing touches on the state budget.

Supporters of the Biomedical Technology Alliance said they would continue their efforts to fund collaborative projects between five area colleges and universities.


Full story.

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Woo-Suk Hwang has pioneered human somatic cell nuclear transfer, and that’s where his troubles begin.

“I am just one scientist”
Woo-Suk Hwang has pioneered human somatic cell nuclear transfer, and that’s where his troubles begin.

By Matt Donnelly
(July 19, 2005)

Woo-Suk Hwang is Posco Chair Professor in the department of theriogenology and biotechnology in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Seoul National University in South Korea. He is recognized the world over for his work in human somatic cell nuclear transfer, commonly known as embryonic stem cell research. In an e-mail interview, Hwang, who is a practicing Buddhist, told Science & Theology News web editor Matt Donnelly about his work, how it has been misunderstood and why he sees himself as “just one scientist.”

Full story.

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How to Save Stem-Cell Research

02:00 AM Jul. 21, 2005 PT

Embryonic stem-cell research advocates are currently faced with a tough decision. They can continue to push pending legislation that would open up more embryonic stem-cell research, but which also faces a likely veto from President Bush; or they can face up to the current political climate in Washington, and back a different bill, which would fund alternative types of stem-cell research.

The House has passed a bill (HR810) that would allow funding for embryonic stem-cell research using extra embryos, produced by in vitro fertilization clinics, that would otherwise be discarded. A companion bill is pending in the Senate, although there is some question as to whether Majority Leader Bill Frist and the rest of the Republican leadership will allow it to come to the floor for a vote. If it does pass, the president has promised to veto the bill, which flies in the face of his Aug. 9, 2001, executive order allowing federal funding only for research on stem cells derived from embryos destroyed before that date.

Full story.

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Bioethics: Enduring pain to aid others

Bioethics: Enduring pain to aid others

By Carol M. Ostrom

Seattle Times staff reporter

Their daughter, Brianna, was still in kindergarten when Jim and Valerie Oas, of Poulsbo, Kitsap County, enrolled her in a research study.

Brianna was to be stuck with a needle and made to exhale with excruciating force, making her ribs hurt, her mother recalled. And she was too young to understand, much less consent to the ordeal.

But Brianna had cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic defect that causes the body to produce abnormally thick mucous. Twelve years ago, it was so deadly she wasn't expected to live beyond her mid-teens.

Now Brianna is 17, active, with a full schedule of work and friends. One of the drugs she helped test now helps keep her lungs healthy, and CF patients routinely live into their 30s.

"If people don't do testing, how are we going to find drugs for these diseases?" Brianna said this week.

Such decisions to conduct research on children are often much more complicated and controversial.

Should parents be able to submit healthy children to painful or dangerous treatment? Should a child be able to say no? What about the risks of not doing research on children?

Today, leading experts in the field of pediatric bioethics will gather in Seattle for a first-of-its-kind summit on such debates: The "Current Controversies in Pediatric Research Ethics" conference at the Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center.


Full story.

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Stem cell bill stalls in Senate, backers vow fight

Stem cell bill stalls in Senate, backers vow fight

By Joanne Kenen
Reuters
Thursday, July 21, 2005; 4:53 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A measure to expand federal funding of stem cell research has stalled in the Senate but backers unable to get the anticipated July vote instead vowed on Thursday to force the issue one way or another this year.

Despite a veto threat by President Bush, the embryonic stem cell bill cleared the House in May with a surprisingly broad bipartisan margin. Backers believed they had momentum in the Senate and a vote was tentatively set for this month.

But now bill sponsors say there is only the slimmest of chances that the Senate can take up the bill before breaking for its August recess.

It bogged down in a procedural morass involving a half-dozen other stem cell and cloning bills -- some written with the apparent aim of peeling away support from the House-passed legislation.

Full story.

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Redesigned protein found to accelerate blood clotting

Redesigned protein found to accelerate blood clotting

Researchers have doubled the potency of a protein that drives blood to clot, according to research conducted at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The study results may have implications for the treatment of hemophilia.

21 Jul 2005, 17:09 GMT - In most cases, hemophilia is caused by a lack of factor VIII, one of several proteins that enable blood to solidify, or clot, to plug wounds after injury. Current preventive treatment consists of genetically engineered factor VIII administered by injection, but one quarter of those born with no factor VIII suffer severe immune reactions that render the treatment inactive.

In addition, current treatment costs as much as $200,000 per patient per year. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center have been studying the structure of factor VIII for 20 years, and are making subtle changes in the protein with the goal of offering more effective, less burdensome treatment.

"We set out to design a version of factor VIII that would improve on the naturally-occurring form of the protein," said Philip Fay, professor in the department of biochemistry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and the study's senior author. "A more potent form of factor VIII, one that could treat effectively with a lower dose, would reduce the cost and, potentially, avert immune reactions," Fay said.

Fay, along with Dr Hironao Wakabayashi, a research assistant professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center and co-inventor, have filed a patent application for the factor VIII redesign used in the published study. Moving forward, Fay's team will target additional calcium binding sites with the goal of making changes that further increase factor VIII potency.

Full story.

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Adult stem cell breakthrough in search for Parkinson's therapy

Adult stem cell breakthrough in search for Parkinson's therapy
Researchers collaborating with Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics have successfully used adult stem cells to produce GDNF, a substance that holds great promise in the treatment of Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

19 Jul 2005, 17:28 GMT - GDNF has been shown to protect the neurons that produce dopamine that becomes depleted in Parkinson's patients. GDNF has also been shown to have a beneficial role in protecting neurons in animal models of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Spinal Cord Injury (SCI).

Most of the current treatments of neurodegenerative diseases provide limited benefit to patients, and drugs for Parkinson's disease, which focus on dopamine supplementation, often cause prohibitive side effects.

The same scientific team at Tel Aviv University, led by professor Eldad Melamed and Dr Daniel Offen, has previously developed patent-pending technology to differentiate human bone marrow into dopamine producing neuron-like cells, which showed functional benefit in animal models of Parkinson's disease.

Full story.

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Companies trying to cash in via licenses, lawsuits

Companies trying to cash in via licenses, lawsuits
By Michael Kanellos
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
July 20, 2005 4:00AM PDT

Citing Thomas Jefferson, Paul Ryan talks about helping the little guy stand up to big corporations and protecting kids from unsavory TV programming. So it may come as a surprise that, to many people in the tech industry, he's public enemy No. 1.

Ryan is the CEO of Acacia Research, a technology development company that has made waves in the past two years with its controversial practice of acquiring patents from other companies, then seeking royalties and licensing fees from those that may be violating them.

"If you look at the great inventions of the 1920s, none of those were invented by large companies," Ryan said, noting that his company often helps small inventors who don't have big corporations behind them. "Patent protection is a fundamental right. It is why some people left Europe."

Others see a less noble side to the patent business, arguing that intellectual-property companies and other litigants unfairly exploit the loopholes of an overworked patent system in a form of legalized extortion. U.S. law gives a patent holder a 20-year monopoly for an invention from the date the application is filed.

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Court upholds Guidant patent for heart device technology

Court upholds Guidant patent for heart device technology

Indianapolis (Star report) -- Guidant Corp. of Indianapolis said it won a key patent case involving heart-failure technology against rival Medtronic Inc.

A U.S. District Court in Delaware upheld the validity of Guidant's patent related to cardiac defibrillators and pacemakers, which Guidant licensed exclusively from Mirowski Family Ventures.

Full story.

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AmberWave Files Patent Suit Against Intel

AmberWave Files Patent Suit Against Intel

By Ed Sutherland
July 20, 2005 4:03PM

"As an engineering firm, we are very proud of the significant advances offered by our patent-protected technologies," said AmberWave CEO Richard Faubert. "We have no choice but to defend our intellectual property rights."

Chipmaking giant Intel is facing yet another lawsuit, this time for technology used in the semiconductor-manufacturing process to reduce the heat and increase the speed of processors designed for mobile devices.

The lawsuit, filed by Salem, N.H.-based AmberWave Systems in Texas, alleges that Intel is infringing AmberWave's patent involving the processor-creation technology called strained silicon.

Full story.

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Tommy Thompson Gets RFID Tag Implanted

Former Bush official to get RFID tag
Published: July 18, 2005, 4:43 PM PDT
By Michael Kanellos
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

Tommy Thompson, the Health and Human Services Secretary in President Bush's first term and a former Governor of Wisconsin, is going to get tagged.

Thompson has joined the board of Applied Digital, which owns VeriChip, the company that specializes in subcutaneous RFID tags for humans and pets.

To help promote the concepts behind the technology, Thompson himself will get an RFID tag implanted under his skin.

Full story.

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New Interference Search Procedure

United States Patent and Trademark Office OG Notices: 19 July 2005

New Interference Search Procedure

When a search is made to determine what grounds of rejection
may apply to the claims undergoing examination, the examiner also
considers the possibility of interfering claims in the U.S. patent
documents. When an application is in condition for allowance, the
examiner performs an interference search. The interference search
procedure currently set forth in MPEP Sec. 1302.08 and Sec. 2301.01(b)
was developed for paper file wrappers at a time when application
filings were lower. This procedure is no longer practical or workable in
view of the fact that the Office no longer maintains paper application
files and the increase in the number of application filings. The
interference search procedure is being replaced by the new interference
search procedure set forth below.


Continue reading "New Interference Search Procedure" »

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Cigarette tax just the start, some say

Cigarette tax just the start, some say
But state denies it would seek to collect taxes from other products bought over the Internet
By PATRICK MARLEY
pmarley@journalsentinel.com
Posted: July 20, 2005

Madison - The state's pursuit of more than $1 million in back taxes and penalties from online cigarette customers could hint at the Department of Revenue's plans to go after taxes on computers, books and other goods bought over the Internet, tax attorneys and analysts said Wednesday.

Department of Revenue officials disputed that speculation, saying they would pursue only online cigarette customers.

They also said Wednesday that they recently received lists of Wisconsin customers from four more such businesses that would generate at least $2 million more in tax bills.

With people increasingly buying products online without paying the state sales tax, experts said the department would soon seek ways to collect those funds.

Full story.

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QRG Bioscience to get $155,000 state loan

QRG Bioscience to get $155,000 state loan

QRG Bioscience L.L.C., a Richfield biotechnology research company, will receive a $155,000 low-interest loan from the state to aid its research on battling neurodegenerative diseases.


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4 open jobs at WARF

4 open jobs at WARF
00:00 am 7/18/05
Karen Rivedal
Wisconsin State Journal

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation has four top job openings, and WARF officials credit the success of their organization for each one.

"It's a time of exciting growth, and we're just looking for people to help us build on that growth in a responsible way," said WARF spokesman Andy Cohn.

Of the four openings, two are newly created jobs. The other two vacancies occurred in the past six months when key WARF licensing directors left for jobs in Madison start-up companies that were formed in recent years to market technology patented by WARF.

WARF is the private, nonprofit organization founded in 1925 to help UW-Madison professors patent their discoveries for development by private companies in a process known as technology transfer.

In 1999, when UW-Madison professor James Thomson made history by becoming the first scientist to isolate embryonic stem cells in the lab, WARF created a subsidiary known as the WiCell Research Institute to distribute the cells internationally and support related research on campus.

Three of the four openings are at WARF, while one is a key leadership post at WiCell.

Full story.

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Experts Discuss Use Of Human Stem Cells In Ape And Monkey Brains

Experts Discuss Use Of Human Stem Cells In Ape And Monkey Brains
15 Jul 2005

An expert panel of stem cell scientists, primatologists, philosophers and lawyers has concluded that experiments implanting, or grafting, human stem cells into non-human primate brains could unintentionally shift the moral ground between humans and other primates. Writing in the July 15 issue of Science, the panel reports its recommendations for minimizing the chances that experiments with human stem cells could change the cognitive and emotional capabilities -- and hence the "moral status" -- of the animals.

"We quickly realized that a fundamental issue was whether such experiments might unintentionally alter the animals' normal cognitive capacity in ways that could cause considerable suffering," says Ruth Faden, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the Phoebe R. Berman Bioethics Institute at The Johns Hopkins University. Faden, John Gearhart, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins' Institute for Cell Engineering, and Guy McKhann, M.D., of Hopkins' Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute, were co-organizers of the panel.

The panel's deliberations focused on the potential effects of grafting human stem cells into the brains of non-human primates. Gearhart notes that such experiments are already under way and that some people see them as a necessary step toward using human stem cells as treatments to replace or repair brain cells lost in conditions like Parkinson's disease or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Full story.

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Some fear restrictions could hinder biotechnology sector

Economics enters cloning debate
Some fear restrictions could hinder biotechnology sector
By KATHLEEN GALLAGHER
kgallagher@journalsentinel.com
Posted: July 12, 2005

Anti-cloning legislation passed by the state Assembly last month has triggered a debate over what is more important: Economic development linked to the potential for new cures or ethical concerns over research that uses human embryos.

The debate has pitted Republicans against Republicans and stem cell pioneer James Thomson against Rep. Steve Kestell (R-Elkhart Lake), the lawmaker behind the bill.

Across the nation, other state legislatures are grappling with cloning concerns. The debate's ramifications are particularly significant in Wisconsin, given the University of Wisconsin-Madison's distinction as the place where human embryonic stem cells were first isolated and cultured and its reputation as a leader in life sciences research.

The legislation, which would make it a criminal offense to perform human cloning in Wisconsin, still needs approval from the state Senate and Gov. Jim Doyle. The Senate is not likely to take it up until it reconvenes in September, and Doyle has said he would veto the bill.


Full story.

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European Antitrust Regulators Search Various Intel Offices

Regulators Search Various Intel Offices

By PAUL AMES, Associated Press Writer 12 minutes ago

BRUSSELS, Belgium - European regulators raided Intel Corp. offices in Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy on Tuesday, two weeks after rival U.S. chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices filed lawsuits in Japan and the United States claiming Intel violated antitrust rules.

Investigators also visited offices of companies that make or sell computers. Dell Inc. offices in Britain were among them, said company spokesman Jess Blackburn in Austin, Texas.

Full story.

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USPTO looking to expand work at home option

USPTO weighs options for work at home

"PC Blade worth the cost of admission" [FCW.com, Oct. 6, 2003]

BY Florence Olsen
Published on Jul. 11, 2005

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officials, who expect to hire about 900 new people as patent examiners this year, are analyzing their office space options, which include expanding the agency’s work-at-home program.

About 175, or 65 percent of USPTO's eligible trademark attorneys, work at home.

USPTO’s chief information officer has notified vendors of the agency’s interest in PC blade technology as agency officials weigh the security risks of expanding the work-at-home program. “Knowing about technology like this will help the decision-making process if we move forward on expanding the program,” said Brigid Quinn, a spokeswoman for the agency.


Full story.

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Surgery scrambles signals that carry pain to brain

Surgery scrambles signals that carry pain to brain
After years of misery, woman has electrodes implanted in head
By JOHN FAUBER
jfauber@journalsentinel.com
Posted: July 11, 2005

It was late on a night in 1969 when Marie and Frank Radtke pulled away from a stop sign, missed a turn and rolled down an embankment into a utility pole.

Averting Pain with Surgery

"I hit the dash right across the bridge of the nose," recalled Marie, a Waterloo resident.

Bones in her face, and eventually her life, were shattered.

Doctors were able to put Radtke's face back together, but as the years went on, the pain in her face became more and more intense, almost unbearable.

Pain specialists often use a scale of zero to 10 to rate a patient's pain, with zero being no pain and 10 "the worst pain imaginable."

In more recent years, Radtke's pain hadn't dipped below eight, and that only was with a large amount of narcotic painkillers and other drugs.

"Many times I just wanted to end it," said Radtke, 60.

Several months ago, Radtke's doctor at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison offered a different solution.

It was a novel therapy that would require removing part of her skull, peeling back the membrane that covers her brain and implanting strips of electrodes on the surface of her motor cortex, the brain region that controls movement in the face and other parts of the body and processes sensory input from nerves in those areas.

Full story.

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HUNTINGTON'S CURE IN FLIES LAYS GROUNDWORK FOR BROADER TREATMENT APPROACHES

HUNTINGTON'S CURE IN FLIES LAYS GROUNDWORK FOR BROADER TREATMENT APPROACHES

MADISON-Boosting levels of two critical proteins that normally shut down during Huntington's disease, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have cured fruit flies of the genetic, neurodegenerative condition.

Forms of the same proteins-known in short form as CREB and HSP-70-exist in all cells, including those of humans.

The study results, published online today by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, were a "logical finding" because of a growing body of work in the area, says senior author Jerry Yin, a UW-Madison molecular geneticist. Scientists previously knew, for example, that hiking the activity of either CREB or HSP-70 lessened symptoms in mice or flies with Huntington's disease.

Completely reversing a disease by targeting a combination of proteins or genetic pathways, however, reflects the growing need to embrace a broader treatment paradigm in the realm of genetic disorders, says Yin.

Continue reading "HUNTINGTON'S CURE IN FLIES LAYS GROUNDWORK FOR BROADER TREATMENT APPROACHES" »

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Biotech company picks Madison to be its home

Biotech company picks Madison to be its home
00:00 am 7/10/05
Judy Newman Wisconsin State Journal

A Minneapolis biotech company plans to open shop in the Madison area, with a factory and headquarters that could employ more than 200 people in two years.

Excorp Medical - an ambitious 9-year old company that also is establishing a branch in China - has developed technology that uses pig liver cells to cleanse toxins from the blood of people whose livers are too diseased to function.

While the company likely will keep some functions in Minneapolis, Excorp Medical wants to move its primary operations to the Madison area. It's a better fit, said Dan Miller, president, chief executive officer and a company founder.

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Stratatech awarded $4 million fed grant

Stratatech awarded $4 million fed grant

The Capital Times
July 8, 2005

Madison-based Stratatech Corp. has been awarded another federal grant, this one for $4 million for development of its genetically engineered therapeutic human skin substitute with enhanced antimicrobial and angiogeneic properties for use in the treatment of type 1 diabetic skin ulcers.

Chronic diabetic skin ulcers, a life threatening complication of diabetes, exhibit poor blood flow and typically become infected resulting in impaired wound healing and amputations. It is estimated that more than 800,000 people in the U.S. suffer from this type of ulcer and the number is growing.

Stratatech is developing human skin substitutes that secrete enhanced levels of biologically active antimicrobial peptides that healthy skin normally produces.

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Inventing on Decline

Science: Wanna be an inventor? Don't bother

Jeffrey MacMillan for USN&WR

Posted 7/7/05
By Thomas Hayden

It's a feeling all too common to anyone who has ever dreamed of being a great innovator: All the really good stuff has already been invented. Pressing on regardless, surely, is what separates the Benjamin Franklins and Thomas Edisons from the rest of us. Or is it?

Sitting there reading this on a computer screen, listening to your iPod, and taking calls on your cellphone, it's hard to believe that we're not living in the golden age of invention. But a pair of new reports suggests that coming up with new ideas is getting harder every year.

In an analysis to be published in Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Jonathan Huebner, a physicist working at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, Calif., tracks the rate of innovation through history. Plotting a timeline of 7,200 major technological advances dating to the Renaissance against world population, he found that the number of key inventions per person actually peaked in 1873 and has been on the decline ever since. In a similar analysis of U.S. patent records dating back to 1790, Huebner found that Americans reached their peak inventiveness in 1915. Despite ever greater education and research funding, Huebner told the British science magazine New Scientist, he expects per capita technological advance to hit medieval rates by 2024.

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Farmers use more biotech crops

Farmers use more biotech crops
00:00 am 7/07/05
Jason Stein Wisconsin State Journal

The furrows of Wisconsin farm fields are seeing a rise in genetically modified crops, a recently released federal survey reported.

This year's increase continues a steady, upward trend that has brought the amount of biotech corn and soybeans planted in the state to more than 3 million acres, new figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show.

About a decade after the controversial crops debuted in this country, a UW-Madison professor said Wednesday he plans to examine years of data to see whether the new technologies have improved farmers' bottom line.

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GE, IHC to develop system to prevent medication errors

Computer venture is launched
GE, IHC to develop system to prevent medication errors
By GUY BOULTON
gboulton@journalsentinel.com
Posted: July 6, 2005

GE Healthcare and Intermountain Health Care, one of the pioneers in using information technology to improve health care, said Wednesday that they will jointly develop a computer system designed to prevent medication errors.

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Man Charged With Stealing Wi-Fi Signal

Man Charged With Stealing Wi-Fi Signal Wed Jul 6, 8:15 PM ET

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Police have arrested a man for using someone else's wireless Internet network in one of the first criminal cases involving this fairly common practice.

Benjamin Smith III, 41, faces a pretrial hearing this month following his April arrest on charges of unauthorized access to a computer network, a third-degree felony.

Police say Smith admitted using the Wi-Fi signal from the home of Richard Dinon, who had noticed Smith sitting in an SUV outside Dinon's house using a laptop computer.

The practice is so new that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement doesn't even keep statistics, according to the St. Petersburg Times, which reported Smith's arrest this week.

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Utilities complete sale of Kewaunee nuclear power plant

Utilities complete sale of Kewaunee nuclear power plant

Wisconsin Public Service Corp. and Wisconsin Power and Light Co. have completed the sale of the Kewaunee nuclear power plant to Dominion Energy Kewaunee, a subsidiary of Dominion Resources Inc., the firms said Tuesday.

The Wisconsin utilities agreed to pursue the plant sale in November 2003 and cleared the last of all required regulatory hurdles when the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) issued its final written order approving the sale in April 2005.

Dominion paid $191.5 million in cash for the plant, or $28.5 million less than the originally announced sale price of $220 million.

At closing, Wisconsin Public Service received approximately $113 million in cash and WP&L received approximately $78.5 million for their respective 59 percent and 41 percent interests in the facility.

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UW Receives $20M for Protein Study

UW-MADISON SCIENTISTS RECEIVE $20 MILLION AWARD FOR PROTEIN STUDY

MADISON - Researchers at the Center for Eukaryotic Structural Genomics, based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have received a $20 million award to fund Phase II of the Protein Structure Initiative over the next five years.

Information from the PSI project, funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, will deepen understanding of a variety of biological processes.

Proteins are everywhere - nearly everything in a living system is protein-mediated. The PSI studies how the information in a gene is turned into a physical protein that does the work in a cell. The three-dimensional structure of each protein determines its function in an organism. PSI centers explore and define these 3-D structures and expand on this knowledge in a systematic way.

"If we can understand the shape of a protein molecule, we can better understand its function. This understanding may allow us to design new drugs to control diseases, develop blood substitutes and synthetic skin, and better understand diseases such as Alzheimer's, cystic fibrosis and sickle-cell anemia," says UW-Madison biochemist John Markley, principal investigator on the project.

"Currently, about half the genes that code for proteins can be mapped to a physical structure. The other half are still mysteries," Markley says. "We're taking a big view of all the proteins rather than studying them one by one."

Continue reading "UW Receives $20M for Protein Study" »

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XXX: A New Frontier for Cybersquatting?

INDUSTRY REPORT
XXX: A New Frontier for Cybersquatting?

By Keith Regan
E-Commerce Times
07/05/05 5:00 AM PT

"Let the unseemly cybersquatting begin," said Karen Whitehouse, an Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)-watcher and author of the Weekend Geek blog. Though intended to make it easier to filter porn sites and keep people, especially children, from stumbling across them by accident, the upshot might be to force people and companies to register domains as a defensive move.

At first glance, the proposal to create a new cyberspace red light district with the .xxx domain seems a clear win for legitimate businesses.

The domain, which has been approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), could essentially segregate adult-content and pornography, moving it out of the .com realm where the vast majority of legitimate commerce takes place.

However, the arrival of .xxx could also create a new set of headaches for companies with high-profiles and carefully guarded brands and trademarks if so-called cyber-squatters revive the practice of grabbing domain names and essentially holding them hostage -- and with this domain, the threat of real embarrassment from an .xxx Web site using the company's name.

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Sweeping Changes to the U.S. Patent System? Don't Bet on It!

Sweeping Changes to the U.S. Patent System? Don't Bet on It!
Mark Scarsi
Special to Law.com
07-05-2005


When Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, introduced the much-heralded Patent Act of 2005 on June 9, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property boasted it made "the most comprehensive change to U.S. patent law since Congress passed the 1952 Patent Act." In reality, however, while earlier drafts of the bill (H.R. 2795) contained a number of welcome changes with real teeth, the bill as introduced is mostly a paper tiger. If the subcommittee continues watering the bill down during mark-up, the Patent Act of 2005 will likely go down in history as yet another failed attempt to bring real reform to the U.S. patent law.


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Your guide to finding an angel investor

Your guide to finding an angel investor
By KATHLEEN GALLAGHER
kgallagher@journalsentinel.com
Last Updated: July 3, 2005
Looking for funding?

Wondering where all the angel investors are?

NorthStar Economics Inc., a Madison economics and research consulting firm, is selling a publication that provides information about how to obtain risk capital in Wisconsin.

The NorthStar Guide to Growth and Venture Capital lists many of the angel investment networks, government grants and venture capital firms that might potentially provide funding. It also contains a detailed description of each type of financing.

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States Move Forward on Internet Sales Tax

States Move Forward on Internet Sales Tax

By Brian Krebs
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Friday, July 1, 2005; 4:02 PM

Tax officials, state lawmakers and industry representatives agreed Thursday to establish an 18-state network for collecting taxes on Internet sales, a compact they hope will encourage online retailers and Congress to endorse a mandatory national program.

Meeting in Chicago under the auspices of the Streamlined Sales Tax Project, the officials agreed that 11 states will oversee the project and outlined incentives to encourage retailers to participate. Forty states have been negotiating since 2000 to create a framework for collecting sales taxes on all remote transactions, whether through regular mail or online.

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IBM Wins $850M Settlement vs. Microsoft

IBM Wins $850M Settlement vs. Microsoft

By BRIAN BERGSTEIN
The Associated Press
Friday, July 1, 2005; 5:34 PM

BOSTON -- IBM Corp. will get $775 million in cash and $75 million worth of software from Microsoft Corp. to settle claims still lingering from the federal government's antitrust case against Microsoft in the 1990s, the companies announced Friday.

The payout is one of the largest that Microsoft has made to settle an antitrust-related case. And it brings the software giant closer to moving on from claims involving technologies long since eclipsed.

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