Stories from the Week that Was – 12/11-12/17/11
Stories from the Week that Was – 11/20-11/26/11
“I am sorry to say that there is too much point to the wisecrack that life is extinct on other planets because their scientists were more advanced than ours.” John F. Kennedy
Kristin Jones, President and CEO of the Indiana Health Industry Forum, has an editorial piece in the latest Indianapolis Business Journal on the impact of the new U.S. patent law on life sciences companies:
For others, this act has been labeled an “innovation killer,” handing over market control to large corporations, driving inventors and potential entrepreneurs back into their labs to toil in secret, and basically halting America’s leadership in research and development.
For Indiana’s life sciences sector, it both raises hopes and creates challenges for continued growth.
For large or small companies, the product development life cycle for a biological therapy comes with a lot of risk. It can take a decade or more and over $1 billion to bring a product to market, and the product can fail at pretty much any point in that process. For the majority of the time in development, a company’s intellectual property is its primary asset.
For larger companies, that risk is spread across multiple products (the company’s pipeline); for smaller companies, everything may depend on the success or failure of a single molecule or protein. Large or small, intellectual property plays a huge role in a life sciences company’s valuation and business strategy.
Check out IBJ.com for the full story.
Independence Science LLC, an Indianapolis company based in the Purdue Research Park, has received a $500,000 SBIR Phase II award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop technology that enhances hands-on science learning for students affected by blindness and low vision.
Independence Science will use the award to further develop Talking LabQuest, the first portable scientific data collection device equipped with text-to-speech technology to help students in science laboratory classrooms.
The company is developing Talking LabQuest in partnership with Vernier Software & Technology LLC of Beaverton, Ore.; HumanWare Inc. of Drummondville, Quebec, Canada; and ViewPlus Technologies Inc. of Corvallis, Ore.
For more, see Inside INdiana Business.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said he will lobby Congress on Friday against a federal bill he says would strip the telephone privacy rights of residents in Indiana. Zoeller plans to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology against House Resolution 3035, a primarily Republican-backed bill being considered in the U.S. House. The bill would allow telemarketers and debt collectors to start dialing residents’ cellphones and, if approved, would override Indiana’s “Do Not Call” law and lead to a flood of robocalls to people’s phones, Zoeller said Wednesday.
Supporters of the bill say it would update federal law to allow businesses to compete in an environment where cellphones have largely replaced landlines.
Zoeller is fighting on multiple legal fronts to maintain Indiana’s strong “Do Not Call” law and ban on political robocalls.
The Southern District of Indiana ruled in September that Indiana’s ban on political robocalls violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protections Act which governs interstate communications. The Indiana Supreme Court is separately considering whether the state rightfully enforced the measure against FreeEats.com.
For more info, see the Journal and Courier.
President Obama yesterday named seven eminent researchers as recipients of the National Medal of Science and five inventors as recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honors bestowed by the United States government on scientists, engineers, and inventors. The recipients will receive their awards at a White House ceremony later this year.
“Each of these extraordinary scientists, engineers, and inventors is guided by a passion for innovation, a fearlessness even as they explore the very frontiers of human knowledge, and a desire to make the world a better place,” President Obama said. “Their ingenuity inspires us all to reach higher and try harder, no matter how difficult the challenges we face.”
The National Medal of Science was created by statute in 1959 and is administered for the White House by the National Science Foundation. Awarded annually, the Medal recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. Nominees are selected by a committee of Presidential appointees based on their extraordinary knowledge in and contributions to chemistry, engineering, computing, mathematics, and the biological, behavioral/social, and physical sciences.
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation was created by statute in 1980 and is administered for the White House by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Patent and Trademark Office. The award recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life and helped strengthen the Nation’s technological workforce. Nominees are selected by a distinguished independent committee representing the private and public sectors.
This year’s recipients are listed below.
National Medal of Science
Jacqueline K. Barton
California Institute of Technology
For discovery of a new property of the DNA helix, long-range electron transfer, and for showing that electron transfer depends upon stacking of the base pairs and DNA dynamics. Her experiments reveal a strategy for how DNA repair proteins locate DNA lesions and demonstrate a biological role for DNA-mediated charge transfer.
Ralph L. Brinster
University of Pennsylvania
For his fundamental contributions to the development and use of transgenic mice. His research has provided experimental foundations and inspiration for progress in germline genetic modification in a range of species, which has generated a revolution in biology, medicine, and agriculture.
University of California, San Diego
For pioneering work in cardiovascular physiology and bioengineering, which has had tremendous impact in the fields of microcirculation, blood rheology and mechanotransduction in human health and disease.
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
For improving our understanding of epigenetic regulation of gene expression: the biological mechanisms that affect how genetic information is variably expressed. His work has led to major advances in our understanding of mammalian cloning and embryonic stem cells.
Peter J. Stang
University of Utah
For his creative contributions to the development of organic supramolecular chemistry and for his outstanding and unique record of public service.
Richard A. Tapia
For his pioneering and fundamental contributions in optimization theory and numerical analysis and for his dedication and sustained efforts in fostering diversity and excellence in mathematics and science education.
Srinivasa S.R. Varadhan
New York University
For his work in probability theory, especially his work on large deviations from expected random behavior, which has revolutionized this field of study during the second half of the twentieth century and become a cornerstone of both pure and applied probability. The mathematical insights he developed have been applied in diverse fields including quantum field theory, population dynamics, finance, econometrics, and traffic engineering.
National Medal of Technology and Innovation
For an extraordinary record of innovations in improving the energy efficiency and reducing the cost of gas liquefaction and separation. These innovations have had significant positive impacts on electronic device manufacturing, liquefied gas production, and the supply of industrial gases for diverse industries.
B. Jayant Baliga
North Carolina State University
For development and commercialization of the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor and other power semiconductor devices that are extensively used in transportation, lighting, medicine, defense, and renewable energy generation systems.
C. Donald Bateman
For developing and championing critical flight-safety sensors now used by aircraft worldwide, including ground proximity warning systems and wind-shear detection systems.
Yvonne C. Brill
RCA Astro Electronics (Retired)
For innovation in rocket propulsion systems for geosynchronous and low earth orbit communication satellites, which greatly improved the effectiveness of space propulsion systems.
Michael F. Tompsett
For pioneering work in materials and electronic technologies including the design and development of the first charge-coupled device (CCD) imagers.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) voted Dec. 21 to adopt new network neutrality rules for broadband providers. The 194-page Report and Order will take some time to read with a critical eye so I’ll update once completed. Here is the full text for those who can’t wait:
In a ceremony last week in the White House East Room, President Obama bestowed the National Medal of Science on 10 researchers and awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to three individuals and a three-person team.
The medals represent the government’s highest honor for scientists, engineers and inventors.
Obama said their achievements “stand as a testament to the ingenuity, to their zeal for discovery and to the willingness to give of themselves and to sacrifice in order to expand the reach of human understanding. All of us have benefited from their work.”
Recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation are:
- Helen M. Free, Miles Laboratories, Indiana, for contributions to diagnostic chemistry through development of dip-and-read urinalysis.
- Harry Coover of Eastman Chemical Co., Tennessee, for inventing cyanoacrylates, also known as super glues.
- Steven J. Sasson, Eastman Kodak Co., New York, for inventing the digital camera and revolutionizing the way images are captured, stored and shared.
- The Intel Corp. team of Federico Faggin, Marcian E. Hoff Jr. and Stanley Mazor for inventing the first microprocessor.
For more info on these awards and the recipients of the National Science Award, see Wall Street Journal Online.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has launched its official page on Facebook. Intended to engage the public and the intellectual property community directly and provide real-time information, the USPTO’s page on Facebook will offer a series of regular updates on a range of issues, and gives Facebook users the chance to comment on, discuss, and offer feedback to the USPTO about announcements and initiatives. The page can be found at www.facebook.com/uspto.gov.
The Facebook page will not replace the Agency’s Web site (www.uspto.gov) as the official source of USPTO information. Rather, the Facebook page will provide a new channel for the public to connect with the USPTO.
In addition to communicating directly with the USPTO, Facebook users can expect to see an array of content and information, including press releases, posts from Director Kappos’ “Director’s Forum” blog, event information, photos and video.