BioTech Circle News - September 2007

October 17 2007

September 2007 Report


Blog Categories Added

Not all biotech-related innovations are destined to have a major impact on health, industry or the environment. Sometimes they are simply too good to ignore, even if they are just plain...Cool! And that's one of two new blog topics. We expand our comments on the article "The Best Scientific Images of the Nanoworld" found in the September 2007 articles.

Some biotech discoveries, in addition to contributing important knowledge to the scientific community, also has the answer to a commonly-experienced occurrence.

We expand our comments on the article "How Nature Makes Earth Aroma" found in the September 2007 articles. (Hint: the soil bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor is responsible.) Now You Know!

September Biotech Report

With this September 2007 update, you now have access to 3,120 Web articles, 3,102 gene-related patents and 6,992 gene-related patent applications...13,214 biotech citations in all.

You may now access PDF versions of our selected September 2007 Web articles and the gene-related patents and patent applications issued and posted by the US Patent Office in September through the links in the left column of our home page:

Alternatively, you can quickly review the article titles with links to the abstracts and full articles, and gene-related patenting activity sorted by country by clicking on "Archives" and then the underlined text (rather than the PDF symbol).


Web articles

Here is an article from this month's report that continues the ethanol-as-fuel debate:

"Ethanol, Schmethanol"
Argues that ethanol is a "lousy fuel" and reports on efforts to make a better fuel that is equally as green as ethanol, such as biobutanol, engineering enzymes to make octanol and a type of isoprenoid by using synthetic biology.

Four September articles feature drug delivery, more than in past months. This one adopts technology from office equipment:

"Painless Drug Injections"

Researchers have engineered a drug patch that painlessly delivers medications through the skin via tiny micro-needles. The technology is modeled after Hewlett-Packard's inkjet-printer technology.
Yet more evidence that the whole is far more complex than its parts. Systems Biology is slowly coming of age:

"Systems Biology’s Awkward Adolescence"

Reviews benefits of systems biology, which emphasizes specifying entire biological networks in mechanistic detail, allowing researchers to identify the best intervention points, the optimum agent(s), definitive biomarkers, and sidestep toxic side effects.

Check out the other September articles by clicking on the left column of our home page. They include DNA barcoding to identify species; a one-step process to make natural products in a test tube; viewing nanotubes inside living cite just a few.

Beacon on Biotechpreneurs

Would you like to learn more about any of the scientists whose work we've cited in current or past articles? Let us know and we'll make every effort to contact them:
Gene-Related Patents/Patent Applications

Only 56 gene-related patents were granted by the U.S. Patent Office in September 2007, of which exactly half were issued to 12 countries outside the United States.

Japan led with 8 patents, followed by France (4) ;  Denmark, Germany,  Korea, the Netherlands and the U.K. each had 2 patents; Chile, Finland, Israel, Switzerland and Taiwan each had one patent.

Just 114 gene-related patent applications were posted by the U.S. Patent Office in September 2007, far fewer than the 185 posted in August 2007.

We haven't heard that patent  reforms have taken place yet (see "IP Briefs: The Shifting Landscape of Patent Licensing" and "U.S. House Moves to Reform Patent Laws" in the September Articles section), nor have we heard of reduced numbers of examiners or reduction in either Patent Office backlogs or applications. Have the costs of application simply risen too high? Other thoughts or knowledge? Post your observations on the archived version of this newsletter on BioBlog. (

In any case, 48 gene-related patent applications were issued to entities in 19 countries outside the United States: Australia, Canada, Peoples Republic of China, Cuba, India, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Spain and Switzerland, in addition to the countries listed above.

Review the titles, categories, assignees, country of origin of all 170 gene-related patents and patent applications posted by the U.S. Patent Office by clicking on the appropriate title in the left column of our home page. You will find URLs to locate the full text and diagrams of all cited documents at the top of the respective PDF files.