UO Shares Expertise on DNA Research

Article excerpt

Byline: GREG BOLT The Register-Guard

The University of Oregon has agreed to share technology and materials developed in its labs with a San Diego-based biotechnology company looking for new treatments for disease and age-related disorders.

The company, MitoKor, will gain access to protein separation technologies and monoclonal antibodies developed for the study of mitochondrial DNA.

Mitochondria are the biological engines that produce the energy that keeps cells alive, and MitoKor specializes in commercial applications of mitochondrial medicine.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Don Gerhard, director of technology transfer for the UO, said the university will get some cash up front, will be paid for other technology as it is needed and could earn additional payments later if the research helps produce new products.

"The university and MitoKor feel it reflects a fair balance of shared risk and shared reward," he said. "This is a significant deal for the university and one that we hope will reflect a step forward in what will be a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship."

The UO technology was developed by biology professor Roderick Capaldi, an internationally known expert on mitochondria and member of the UO Institute of Molecular Biology, and professor Mike Marusich, director of the monoclonal antibody facility at the UO Institute of Neuroscience.

It includes an innovative method for protein separation and specially developed monoclonal antibodies.

Monoclonal antibodies are specially cultured antibodies used to detect and measure a suite of proteins controlled by mitochondrial DNA.

By understanding which proteins are controlled by specific genes, scientists can better understand gene functions.

Mitochondrial abnormalities are connected with a variety of illnesses, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and Type 2 diabetes. …