A Needle In a Bio Haystack
Published Patent Applications for July 22, 2021
Good Evening from FedInvent,
July 22 is former Senator Bob Dole’s 98th birthday. Senator Dole is the co-sponsor of the Bayh-Dole Act. We extend our best birthday wishes to the architect of one of the most important pieces of legislation that advanced American innovation.
Here is what’s new in the federal innovation ecosphere for this Thursday.
PATENT APPLICATIONS BY THE NUMBERS
FedInvent identified 164 newly published taxpayer-funded patent applications. These patents have 195 references to federal agencies and departments that funded the work that led to these new inventions. One hundred fifty-four (154) of these published applications contained government interest statements. Twenty-six (26) are applications where the federal government is the assignee or the applicant.
These 164 patents are the work of 557 inventors. Five hundred thirty-four (534) are the work of American inventors who come from 34 states and the District of Columbia. Twenty-three (23) inventors are from outside the US. Eight are from the United Kingdom. They include inventors five from the Peoples Republic of China. There are two inventors from each of Switzerland, France, and India. The other four are from Belgium, Canada, South Korea, and Mexico.
FedInvent uses the Count by Scientific Domain to gauge the scope of the inventions in the week’s published patent applications.
This week, as usual, Medical and Veterinary Science remained the number one CPC symbol found on the published applications. Forty-two patents had A61 as its primary (first) CPC classification symbol. CPC A61 symbols appeared another 285 times. CPC symbols for "Cements; Concrete; Artificial Stone; Ceramics; Refractories" appears eight times. Biochemistry and its cohorts — "Beer; Spirits; Wine; Vinegar; Microbiology; Enzymology; Mutation or Genetic Engineering" CPCs appear 25 times as the first CPC symbol and were used 136 times to identify other inventive content.
You can see the complete list of CPCs in this week’s FedInvent Patent Applications Report.
THE HEALTH COMPLEX
This week HHS was cited as a funding agency on 93 patent applications. The National Institutes of Health is cited 84 times on those patents. The individual institutes were cited as funding sources 114 times. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were each cited twice. The Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) is cited as a funding entity once.
The Military Health Complex includes 19 patent applications this week. Eight patents are funded by the Army. Three each are from DARPA and the Navy, and two are from the Department of Defense with no subordinate organization identified. The Department of Veterans Affairs funded the work on three of the patent applications.
A DIGITAL HAYSTACK — READ THIS PATENT
Did COVID-19 come from a Wuhan wet market or a Wuhan Lab or was it an engineered bioweapon? Long before most people ever heard the word COVID, IARPA was on the job. In 2017, IARPA began its FELIX program to improve its biosecurity posture and build the tools to identify engineered organisms.
The IARPA Finding Engineering-Linked Indicators (FELIX) program aims to develop a suite of tools for the agnostic detection of engineered biological organisms, ranging from viruses, bacteria, insects, animals, and plants that are either purposefully or accidentally developed and/or released with the potential to cause harm. IARPA seeks to improve the tools for detecting modified organisms and increase the amount and quality of information available to determine if a system has been engineered.
The program has two focus areas: 1) Transition-ready experimental platforms and tools for detecting signatures of biological engineering; and, 2) Transition-ready computational tools and approaches for detecting signatures of biological engineering.
Contractors were asked to deliver platform tools and methods for detection of engineered biology; approaches for sample analysis for a range of biological systems, including plants, animals, insects, microbes; and viruses computational tools and models that distinguish natural variation from intentional engineering.
In June 2018, Draper won a Multi-Year $7.8 Million Contract to Improve Biodetection Security. According to Forbes, "Draper’s detection tool, which looks like a microprocessor chip, seeks out engineered DNA sequences. On the chip sits a microarray of surface probes, up to 10,000 of them. DNA from soil, water, or other samples are captured by bringing the probes on the surface of the array into contact with the material."
This week’s patent applications include a FELIX program-related invention from inventors at The Charles Stark Draper Laboratories — 20210220823, "MINIATURIZED DNA MICROARRAY FOR SMALL- VOLUME SAMPLE PROCESSING". Kirsty McFarland, molecular microbiologist and principal investigator on Draper’s FELIX program is the first-named inventor on the patent application. This is the second published patent application from Draper Labs, from of its work for IARPA’s FELIX program. The first, 20210198726 — "HYBRIDIZATION IMMUNOPRECIPITATION SEQUENCING (HIP-SEQ)," was published on July 1, 2021.
Draper is developing two distinct lab-based genetic tests, custom bioinformatics pipelines that contextualize DNA sequencing data, and miniaturized microarray hardware. Their postage-stamp-sized device allows multiple rounds of genetic tests on any organism, from a variety of sources including soil and water. Potential applications include bio-threat detection, environmental monitoring, and food inspection.
Each probe is tuned to capture a specific engineered DNA sequence or marker which researchers are targeting. Draper is currently using 200 different types of probes which recognize specific sequences or engineering markers. Once the probes capture material from the samples, Draper researchers run it through a DNA sequencer which reads the order of the sequences collected.
IARPA awarded five FELIX prime contracts to Draper Laboratories; Ginko Bioworks; Harvard College; Raytheon Technologies; and, Noblis, Inc. The MIT-Broad Foundry, a synthetic biology genetic design institute, is also part of the FELIX effort. Synthetic biology combines advances in chemistry, biology, computer science, and engineering to design and construct new biological entities or redesign existing biological systems.
Boston-based bioanalytics firm, Ginkgo Bioworks is developing a FELIX detection tool that uses machine learning. Raytheon Technologies is using cybersecurity malware discovery techniques to find engineered organisms. Noblis is working on a range of biological defense research focused on Identifying novel and unknown engineered sequences. Noblis, who also does work for the CIA’s In-Q-Tel laboratory for emerging technologies in the life sciences: diagnostics, vaccines, biothreats, analytics
In January 2020, the MIT-Broad Foundry analyzed the publicly available SARS-CoV-2 genome using their FELIX bioinformatics pipeline. The team's goal was to test the veracity of online stories claiming that SARS-CoV-2 was engineered in a laboratory. They compared the SARS-CoV-2 genome against 58 million sequences, including genomes from closely and distantly related viruses. After 10 minutes of analysis, the FELIX tool determined that all regions of the SARS-CoV-2 genome match naturally-occurring coronaviruses better than they match any other organisms, including any other viruses. This analysis indicates that no sequences from foreign species were engineered into SARS-CoV-2 aka COVID-19.
We expect to see more synthetic biology and bioinformatics innovations patent applications and patent applications coming from the IARPA FELIX and its partners.
IARPA’s mission is to envision and lead high-risk, high-payoff research that delivers innovative technology for future overwhelming intelligence advantage.
FROM THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY
This week’s published patent application includes another invention funded by ODNI IARPA. 20210224678 — "Scalable Integration of Hybrid Optoelectronic and Quantum Optical Systems into Photonic Circuits." This invention comes from researchers from the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies and the quantum computing scientists at MIT. Mr. Carolan, an inventor on the patent application, is also affiliated with the University College London Neural Computation Lab.
If the patent application makes it through the gauntlet and becomes a patent the assignee is likely to change one of the sponsoring entities of this work — MIT or DOD.
The Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN) is a team of MIT, Army, and industry partners. These scientists and researchers work together to discover and field technologies that dramatically advance Soldier protection and survivability capabilities.
"As an Army University-Affiliated Research Center (UARC), the ISN contract is administered and overseen for the U. S. Army by the Army Research Office (ARO), a part of the U. S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command's Army Research Laboratory (DEVCOM ARL), under the auspices of the U. S. Army Futures Command. The work on this patent application was funded by the Air Force Research Lab, the National Science Foundation’s Office of Emerging Frontiers, and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)."
HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT — Raytheon Again
This week there are three patents identified without a specific agency.
All three of these patent applications are from United Technology which is now part of Raytheon Technologies. Raytheon Technologies and its subsidiaries have a substantial patent and patent application portfolio. All relate to jet engine technology.
20210222571 — SEAL ELEMENT FOR SEALING A JOINT BETWEEN A ROTOR BLADE AND A ROTOR DISK
20210222580 — ROTOR STACK BUSHING WITH ADAPTIVE TEMPERATURE METERING FOR A GAS TURBINE ENGINE
20210222587 — EXTERNALLY REPLACEABLE VALVE ASSEMBLY FOR A TURBINE ENGINE
Raytheon Technologies supports DOD, the Air Force, and the Navy with its aeronautics work.
WHAT’S HAPPENING AT THE Y?
New Emerging Climate Change Technology
There are two patent applications identified by USPTO as beneficial for mitigating the impact of climate change. These are patent applications with Y CPC symbols in their classification data. We continue to be perplexed on why some of these inventions have been deemed climate change relevant.
Y02A — Technologies for Adaptation to Climate Change
20210221826, "BIVALENT BROMODOMAIN INHIBITORS AND USES THEREOF."
Why the Y? The new compound may be used to treat human cancer, multiple sclerosis, and infectious diseases. Infections and infectious diseases may be made worse by climate change.
Y02T — Climate Change Mitigation Technologies Related to Transportation
20210221747, "Protective Internal Coatings for Porous Substrates "
Why the Y? This invention covers the efficient propulsion technology that is beneficial in improving reducing GHG emissions from air transportation.
THE BEST OF THE REST
20210221872, "Ebola Virus Antibodies and Binding Agents Derived Therefrom" funded by DARPA. This invention covers new antibodies and fragments capable of treating or preventing an Ebola viral infection. This is the work of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Let's hope this one works.
This week Columbia University invented 20210219852, "Self-Calibrating, Cuffless, and Non-Invasive Blood Pressure Monitor" is a wearable device for cuffless blood pressure monitoring that does not require external per-person calibration, such as with a cuff-based measurement device. The invention uses photoplethysmography sensors to obtain pulse wave velocity and develops compensation for external pressure influences.
Photoplethysmography (PPG) is an uncomplicated and inexpensive optical measurement method that is often used for heart rate monitoring purposes. PPG is a non-invasive technology that uses a light source and a photodetector at the surface of the skin to measure the volumetric variations of blood circulation.
This week’s top patent application ranked by the number of claims goes to 20210220289, "PARTICLES COMPRISING A THERAPEUTIC OR DIAGNOSTIC AGENT AND SUSPENSIONS AND METHODS OF USE THEREOF" from Elektrofi, a company focused on the formulation and delivery of biologics. Elektrofi was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). This patent has 462 claims.
Second on this week’s claim count leaderboard is 20210222193, "RNA-Guided Human Genome Engineering," funded by NIH and invented by George Church and his colleagues at Harvard. This one comes in at 263 claims and lots of CATGs and CAGUs.
And finally a little rocket science and things that go boom. Publication number 20210223011 — KINETIC ENERGY VEHICLE WITH ATTITUDE CONTROL SYSTEM HAVING PAIRED THRUSTERS from Raytheon. A warhead developed for the Missile Defense Agency of the Department of Defense.
Claim 1. — "A kinetic energy vehicle comprising: a solid rocket motor; a divert thruster system; and an attitude control system; wherein the divert thruster system and the attitude control system are operatively coupled to the solid rocket motor to receive pressurized gasses output by the solid rocket motor; and wherein the attitude control system includes two pairs of attitude control thrusters, with one pair diametrically opposed to the other pair, and with the attitude control thrusters of each pair having radial thrust components in an outward radial direction and circumferential thrust components in opposite circumferential directions."
That’s rocket science happening in Tuscon, Arizona.
Subscribers can explore this Thursday’s pre-grant patent applications publications here.
That’s it for this week’s Patent Applications. Look around the rest of the discoveries and inventions from the federal innovation ecosophere. There is a lot of exciting work is going on.
Tony heard there was a Modular Pet Detector this week. Sorry Tony this one is for Positron Emission Tomography (PET) detectors.
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