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Robotics Legends Converge at UC San Diego Forum

October 16, 2014 – 6:00 am | Edit Post

After the industrial revolution and the Internet revolution, we are now poised for the robotics revolution. Influential robotics researchers and industry leaders made this prediction in many different ways Friday at the Contextual Robotics Technologies International Forum at UC San Diego. The speakers and more than 250 attendees gathered to reflect on what opportunities and challenges this revolution would bring, and how San Diego fits into this picture.

Changing Lives: Carol Vassiliadis Names Hospital with $8.5 Million to Jacobs Medical Center

October 16, 2014 – 6:00 am | Edit Post

Carol Vassiliadis did not attend college at the University of California, San Diego. Her two children did not go to UC San Diego. Her late husband, who battled cancer over a decade ago, was not treated at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. Yet, Vassiliadis has dedicated innumerable hours and considerable resources to the campus, including gifts totaling $8.5 million to the future UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center. In honor of her support, the new facility—to be opened in 2016—will be home to the “A. Vassiliadis Family Hospital for Advanced Surgery.” A portion of Vassiliadis’ support was also matched by an anonymous donor as part of a Jacobs Medical Center Challenge grant, for a total of $12 million in gifts.

ARCS Foundation Awards $232,500 in Fellowships for UC San Diego Graduate Students

October 16, 2014 – 6:00 am | Edit Post

Dustin Richmond, a third year graduate student in computer science and engineering, builds complex computer hardware systems with the power to process large data sets—such as the data involved with DNA sequencing. In his first year, Richmond worked with technology company Cognex to design an ultra-high-speed image processing pipeline—specifically for active 3D scanners—that could decompress and process 20,000 images per second.

Novel Mutations Discovered In Cats Provide Insight Into Human Eye Diseases

October 16, 2014 – 5:30 am | Edit Post

SAN MATEO, Calif., Oct. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – Researchers from the University of Missouri and the 99 Lives Cat Genome Sequencing Initiative today announced groundbreaking discoveries of novel mutations in the cat genome found to correlate to two human eye diseases, retinitis pigmentosa and Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis.  The 99 Lives Cat Genome Sequencing Initiative is a joint project between the University of Missouri, the University of California, Davis and industrial partners. The Maverix Analytic Platform was used to analyze this data, and Maverix hosts the Initiative’s genome and analysis data in a publicly-accessible “Community of Discovery.”

Leber’s Congential Amaurosis (LCA) is a rare inherited eye disease that primarily affects the retina, which is the specialized tissue at the back of the eye that detects light and color. LCA is one of the most common causes of blindness in children. With onset at birth or early in life, two to three per 100,000 newborns are born with LCA.  Persian cats can suffer from autosomal recessive progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), a disease similar to LCA. Association studies of Persian cats localized the causal gene for Persian PRA to cat chromosome E1, which is homologous to human chromosome 17. Whole genome sequencing revealed mutations in the gene AIPL1. A variety of mutations in AIPL1 have been identified as causes of various types of LCA in humans.  

By finding that the putative causative mutation for Persian PRA is in the gene that can cause LCA in humans, researchers may be able to develop models to better understand the disease pathways associated with this rare eye disease and ultimately develop diagnostic and screening tests that will improve treatment.

Retinitis pigmentosa is a condition affecting about 1 in 4,000 people in the United States. Cells in the retina controlling night vision are most likely to be affected, and symptoms include decreased vision at night or in low light, and loss of peripheral vision, commonly known as “tunnel vision.”  Symptoms often first appear in childhood but severe vision problems often do not develop before early adulthood. The whole genome sequencing of a Bengal cat found a causative genetic mutation for retinitis pigmentosa, which can serve as a model for research leading to better understanding of the causes and potential treatments for this condition in both cats and humans.

“We are thrilled that the whole genomic sequencing of cats has led to such impactful discoveries which we believe can provide an efficient and effective model for research into eye diseases affecting humans,” said Leslie Lyons PhD, Gilbreath-McLorn Professor for Comparative Medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia. “Using whole genome sequencing enabled us to find this mutation, which would not have been possible using traditional microarray technology.”

“To whole genome sequence cats with disease traits as a routine tool will unravel simple and complex traits relevant to human health,” said Barbara Gandolfi PhD, Research Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia. “With the help of the Maverix Analytic Platform, our first identified mutation associated with a progressive retinal atrophy in Persian cats provides a model for the study of blinding disease in humans.”

“We are pleased that the discovery of these novel mutations in cats has tremendous implications to further the understanding of LCA and retinitis pigmentosa,” said Dave Mandelkern, President and co-founder of Maverix Biomics. “We are excited that the 99 Lives Cat Sequencing Initiative is helping to advance state-of-the-art healthcare for cats as well as to help improve human health.”

Access to the 99 Lives Cat Genome Sequencing Initiative public data sets and visualization of the data within the UCSC Genome Browser are available at no cost to researchers. Performing new data analytics, exploration, or other visualization is possible for additional fees, with substantial discounts for academic and not-for-profit research organizations.

About the 99 Lives Cat Genome Sequencing InitiativeThe 99 Lives Cat Genome Sequencing Initiative is a project designed to sequence the genome of 99 cats in order to improve coverage and future assemblies of the cat genome; identify genotypic variation across a large number of cats with diverse genetic backgrounds, helping to identify causative mutations for specific health conditions in cats which may also be relevant to humans; and increase the value of individual cat genome sequencing by veterinary hospitals providing state-of-the-art health care. For more information visit http://felinegenetics.missouri.edu/ninety-nine-lives/2

About the Maverix Analytic PlatformThe Maverix Analytic Platform is a cloud-based solution designed for use directly by life sciences researchers who may not have software or bioinformatics expertise. It leverages proven open-source algorithms and applications developed at leading academic and research centers. After loading sequence data from any organism (human, animal, plant, or microbe), researchers are able to immediately perform analyses with reliable, scientifically vetted configurations, as cited in peer-reviewed journal publications. Visualization is provided through a variety of integrated graphical tools, including a private, secure version of the UCSC Genome Browser, the world’s most widely used genome browser.

About Maverix BiomicsBased in San Mateo, CA and backed by leading venture capital firms and Silicon Valley investors, Maverix Biomics, Inc. provides researchers with a cloud-based platform to manage, analyze, and visualize genomic data, build Communities of Discovery, and place their data in context with the latest public data from the full spectrum of life, including human, plant, animal, or microbial organisms. For more information, visit www.maverixbio.com.

NOTE TO REPORTERS: Barbara Gandolfi, PhD, Research Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia will be presenting a poster on these findings from 4:00PM to 5:00PM on Sunday, October 19, 2014 in the “Molecular Basis of Mendelian Disorders” session at the 64th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics, to be held at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. For more information or to schedule an interview with Dr. Gandolfi, please call Dave Mandelkern at 415-531-4238 or email dmandelkern@maverixbio.com.

SOURCE Maverix Biomics, Inc.

Batu Biologics Awarded Exclusive License From University of California, San Diego (UCSD) for Drug That Stimulates Immune System To Kill Cancer

October 16, 2014 – 5:00 am | Edit Post

SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Batu Biologics, an immunotherapy company developing an anti-angiogenic cancer vaccine, announced today the signing of a license agreement with the Regents of the University of California, granting exclusive rights to novel peptide drugs developed at UC San Diego that have been proven to stimulate cancer-killing immune responses. Batu Biologics plans to utilize the licensed…

Paragon BioTeck To Exhibit At American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting In Chicago

October 16, 2014 – 5:00 am | Edit Post

PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –Paragon BioTeck, Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical and medical device company specializing in the development of ophthalmic pharmaceuticals, devices and therapies, will be exhibiting at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (Booth #4550) in

Lombard Medical Technologies Announces First Aorfix Cases In New Zealand Following Expansion In Asia-Pacific Region

October 16, 2014 – 5:00 am | Edit Post

IRVINE, Calif. and LONDON, Oct. 16, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Lombard Medical, Inc. (Nasdaq:EVAR), a medical device company focused on Endovascular Aneurysm Repair (EVAR) of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs), today announced the successful completion of the first two EVAR cases performed in New Zealand…

CytRx Corporation Appoints As Chairman Of The Board

October 16, 2014 – 5:00 am | Edit Post

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –CytRx Corporation (NASDAQ: CYTR), a biopharmaceutical research and development company specializing in oncology, today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Steven A. Kriegsman, President, Chief Executive Officer and a Director…

Halt Medical, Inc. Announces Of IL, TX, OK, NM And MT Issue Positive Coverage Decisions For The Acessa Procedure For Women With Symptomatic Fibroids

October 16, 2014 – 5:00 am | Edit Post

LIVERMORE, Calif., Oct.16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Halt Medical, Inc. announced today that BlueCross & BlueShield of Illinois, Texas, Montana, New Mexico and Oklahoma, part of Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), published updates to their Laparoscopic and Percutaneous Techniques for the Treatment of Uterine Fibroid Policies, and are now providing benefits for Halt Medical’s Acessa Procedure as a…

Alphatec Spine To Release Third Quarter 2014 Financial Results

October 16, 2014 – 5:00 am | Edit Post

CARLSBAD, Calif., Oct. 15, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Alphatec Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:ATEC), the parent company of Alphatec Spine, Inc., a global medical device company that provides spinal fusion technology solutions for patients with spinal disorders, will release its third quarter 2014 financial results…