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December 09, 2019

November 2019 patents

Innovations in 3D printing, targeted genome editing, soft robotics, systems for culturing cells, tactile sensors, and more

Harvard faculty Jennifer Lewis, Don Ingber, David Liu, George Whitesides, David Sinclair, David Mooney, David Weitz, Michael Starnbach, Ulrich Von Andrian, Greg Verdine, and Rob Howe are among the inventors issued U.S. patents in November 2019.

The innovations recognized are as follows:

Microfluidic active mixing nozzle for three-dimensional printing of viscoelastic inks
U.S. Patent 10,464,031 (November 5, 2019)

Jennifer A. Lewis and Thomas J. Ober

Abstract: A microfluidic printing nozzle for 3D printing may include a mixing chamber, a first inlet for connecting with a first ink source, the first inlet located at a first end of the mixing chamber, and a second inlet for connecting with a second ink source, the second inlet located at the first end of the mixing chamber. An outlet may be located at a second end of the mixing chamber, and a generally cylindrical impeller may be rotatably disposed in the mixing chamber between the first end and the second end. The cylindrical impeller may include an outer surface, and the outer surface of the impeller includes a groove, a protrusion, or both, to facilitate mixing of fluidic inks flowing from the first end to the second end of the mixing chamber.

Systems and methods for cell culture device interconnection and fluidic device interconnection
U.S. Patent 10,465,158 (November 5, 2019)

Donald E. Ingber, Daniel Levner, Guy Thompson II, Jose Fernandez-Alcon, and Christopher David Hinojosa

Abstract: Systems and methods interconnect cell culture devices and/or fluidic devices by transferring discrete volumes of fluid between devices. A liquid-handling system collects a volume of fluid from at least one source device and deposits the fluid into at least one destination device. In some embodiments, a liquid-handling robot actuates the movement and operation of a fluid collection device in an automated manner to transfer the fluid between the at least one source device and the at least one destination device. In some cases, the at least one source device and the at least one destination device are cell culture devices. The at least one source device and the at least one destination device may be microfluidic or non-microfluidic devices. In some cases, the cell culture devices may be microfluidic cell culture devices. In further cases, the microfluidic cell culture devices may include organ-chips.

Cas variants for gene editing
U.S. Patent 10,465,176 (November 5, 2019)

David R. Liu and Alexis Christine Komor

Abstract: Some aspects of this disclosure provide strategies, systems, reagents, methods, and kits that are useful for the targeted editing of nucleic acids, including editing a single site within the genome of a cell or subject, e.g., within the human genome. In some embodiments, fusion proteins of Cas9 and nucleic acid editing enzymes or enzyme domains, e.g., deaminase domains, are provided. In some embodiments, methods for targeted nucleic acid editing are provided. In some embodiments, reagents and kits for the generation of targeted nucleic acid editing proteins, e.g., fusion proteins of Cas9 and nucleic acid editing enzymes or domains, are provided.

Soft robotic actuators
U.S. Patent 10,465,723 (November 5, 2019)

Filip Ilievski, Xin Chen, Aaron D. Mazzeo, George M. Whitesides, Robert F. Shepherd, Ramses V. Martinez, Won Jae Choi, Sen Wai Kwok, Stephen A. Morin, Adam Stokes, and Zhihong Nie

Abstract: A soft robotic device includes a flexible body having a width, a length and a thickness, wherein the thickness is at least 1 mm, the flexible body having at least one channel disposed within the flexible body, the channel defined by upper, lower and side walls, wherein at least one wall is strain limiting; and a pressurizing inlet in fluid communication with the at least one channel, the at least one channel positioned and arranged such that the wall opposite the strain limiting wall preferentially expands when the soft robotic device is pressurized through the inlet.

Process for stimulating hyaluronic acid synthesis
U.S. Patent 10,470,987 (November 12, 2019)

Bertrand Thomas, Mathilde Thomas, and David Sinclair

Abstract: Compositions allowing the stimulation of hyaluronic acid synthesis via an increase in has-2 expression and their use in the treatment of conditions related to a decrease in hyaluronic acid synthesis.

Microparticles, methods for their preparation and use
U.S. Patent 10,471,016 (November 12, 2019)

David J. Mooney, David A. Weitz, Stefanie Utech, Radivoje Prodanovich, Esther Amstad, Raluca Ostafe, Angelo S. Mao, Connie Chang Wilking, and Huanan Wang

Abstract: The invention relates to microparticles comprising a crosslinked gel and methods for making and using same.

Cell culture system
U.S. Patent 10,472,612 (November 12, 2019)

Donald E. Ingber and Hyun Jung Kim

Abstract: The embodiments of the invention described herein relate to systems and methods for culturing and/or maintaining intestinal cells, tissues and/or organoids in vitro. The cells, tissues and/or organoids cultured according to the methods and systems described herein can mimic or reproduce natural intestinal epithelial structures and behavior as well as support co-culture of intestinal microflora.

Enhancing diagnosis of disorder through artificial intelligence and mobile health technologies without compromising accuracy
U.S. Patent 10,478,112 (November 19, 2019)

Dennis Wall

Abstract: A computer system for generating a diagnostic tool by applying artificial intelligence to an instrument for diagnosis of a disorder, such as autism. For autism, the instrument can be a caregiver-directed set of questions designed for an autism classification tool or an observation of the subject in a video, video conference, or in person and associated set of questions about behavior that are designed for use in a separate autism classification tool. The computer system can have one or more processors and memory to store one or more computer programs having instructions for generating a highly statistically accurate set of diagnostic items selected from the instrument, which are tested against a first test using a technique using artificial intelligence and a second test against an independent source. Also, a computer implemented method and a non-transitory computer-readable storage medium are disclosed.

Nanoparticle-based compositions
U.S. Patent 10,485,861 (November 26, 2019)

Georg Stary, Aleksandar Filip Radovic-Moreno, Pamela A. Basto, Michael N. Starnbach, Robert S. Langer, Omid C. Farokhzad, and Ulrich Von Andrian

Abstract: Provided herein are new compositions including an inactivated pathogen and one or more adjuvant-loaded polymeric nanoparticles, wherein the adjuvant-loaded nanoparticles are bound to the inactivated pathogen. These compositions are useful for preventing and/or treating diseases caused by the specific pathogens, especially when administered to a subject's mucosal membranes.

Stabilized compounds having secondary structure motifs
U.S. Patent 10,487,110 (November 26, 2019)

Gregory L. Verdine and Christian E. Schafmeister

Abstract: The present invention provides novel stabilized crosslinked compounds having secondary structure motifs, libraries of these novel compounds, and methods for the synthesis of these compounds libraries thereof. The synthesis of these novel stabilized compounds involves (1) synthesizing a peptide from a selected number of natural or non-natural amino acids, wherein the peptide comprises at least two moieties capable of undergoing reaction to promote carbon-carbon bond formation; and (2) contacting the peptide with a reagent to generate at least one crosslinker and to effect stabilization of a secondary structure motif. The present invention, in a preferred embodiment, provides stabilized p53 donor helical peptides. Additionally, the present invention provides methods for disrupting the p53/MDM2 binding interaction comprising (1) providing a crosslinked stabilized α-helical structure; and (2) contacting the crosslinked stabilized α-helical structure with MDM2.

Method of making a contact pressure sensor
U.S. Patent 10,488,284 (November 26, 2019)

Leif Jentoft, Yaroslav Tenzer, and Robert Howe

Abstract: A tactile sensor includes a pressure transducer encapsulated in an elastic material that defines a contact surface and provides a transmission path that transmits contact forces or pressure distributions applied to the contact surface to the pressure transducer. The pressure transducer can be enclosed in a protective housing that defines a chamber around the transducer. The housing can include one or more openings that expose the chamber to the exterior pressure. The tactile sensor can be made by applying the elastic material in liquid form and exposing the housing to a vacuum that removes air inside the chamber allowing the liquid elastic material to flow into the chamber. Once cured, the elastic material defines a contact surface of the tactile sensor and serves to transfer contact forces applied to the contact surface to the transducer.

Press Contact

Caroline Perry, (617) 495-4157

Press Contact

Caroline Perry
(617) 495-4157