Accelerator’s East Coast Foray, Gates Foundation Bets on RSV Vaccine, UW Sues GE, & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

12/2/10Follow @xconomy

Two of the key players in Seattle life sciences formed interesting new connections to the Eastern time zone this week.

Accelerator, the venture-backed biotech startup nurturer in Seattle, made its first new investment in a company with East Coast roots. The company, Acylin Therapeutics, is built on the vision of a Boston biotech entrepreneur, and technology from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Wistar Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.

—The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave a $6 million grant to NanoBio, a company in Ann Arbor, MI developing a nasal spray vaccine for RSV infections. This is one of the most common bugs that infects infants around the world, and the Gates folks structured this deal so NanoBio could keep the commercial rights in lucrative territories like the U.S., while the foundation can ensure it still gets to kids in poor countries.

—The University of Washington is now tangling in federal court with GE, accusing the industrial giant of violating an ultrasound patent from the lab of bioengineering professor Yongmin Kim. The UW technology, which it contends is used by GE’s fast-selling Logiq E9 ultrasound machine, is supposed to make it so medical staff can combine images from ultrasound with other common diagnostic technologies like CT scans and MRI’s. GE declined to comment on the suit.

—As many of you know, Xconomy pulled together some of the leaders in Seattle biotech this week for an event on Monday, called “Biotech’s Back in Seattle.” We packed the house at PATH’s new South Lake Union headquarters, bringing in more than 200 people for the moderated conversation and top-notch networking. You can see you was there by checking out this photo gallery, and, even better, watch this slide show from professional photographer Robert Wade.

—One of the regular contributors to the guest editorial section of Xconomy, Stewart Lyman, had an interesting post here this week titled “The Myth of the Patent Cliff.” In what might be an Xconomy first, he used some colorful imagery from an Indiana Jones film to make a point.

—We also ran a guest post from Scott Forrest, the senior director of business development at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego. Forrest offered his view on how broad sponsored research agreements ought to work between Big Pharma companies and academic centers. This is always a sticky issue, and it’s become timely now that the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Novartis, and a startup called Gatekeeper Pharmaceuticals are entangled in a complicated dispute about who really owns the rights to a promising cancer drug.

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