NK Patent Law has an experienced biotechnology patents practice. Our biotech patents group works with Fortune 100 companies, startup companies, contract research organizations (CROs), and public and private universities.

The biotech patents group is international in scope, seeking patent protection on behalf of clients in many foreign jurisdictions. Additionally, the biotech patent practice advises clients on freedom to operate analysis and clearance for entry of new biotech products into the United States and foreign countries, as well in due diligence matters for intellectual property acquisition and monetization.

The technologies that we focus on include enzymes, proteins, diagnostic materials, kits, and devices, biological systems, chemical patents, genetically modified goods, biologics, agribusiness, and plant science.

Our biotechnology practice also includes advising clients on complex corporate, joint venture, and licensing matters as they arise, and the firm represents both investors and startup companies.

Dr. Laura Kiefer holds a PhD from Duke University in Biochemistry. Dr. Kiefer previously worked in-house and managed the entire patent portfolio for Affinergy, LLC, a leader in peptide and enzyme research and creation.

Ashley Johnson worked in biochemical research in both the pharmaceutical industry and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and brings over a decade of patent experience to the profession.

Lyle Gravatt works in the biotech group as well, having a degree in physics and having experience in nanotechnology, water purification, and diagnostic systems.

Representative Work

U.S. Patent No. 9,206,465
“Methods, compositions, and kits for detecting protease activity in complex samples”
Methods and kits are provided for measuring protease activity in samples such as feed or food samples. The methods include adding a water insoluble substrate with a signal producing group to a feed or food sample containing the protease activity to be measured, incubating the sample in phosphate-free buffer such that the signal is produced, and measuring the amount of protease activity in the sample. The methods do not require separation of the incubation buffer from the feed or food and allow for visual inspection of a colorimetric signal for a semi-quantitative measurement of the in-feed/in-food protease activity. Thus, the assay is advantageous as it can be performed on-site without the use of laboratory equipment.

U.S. Patent No. 8,859,223
“Compositions and methods for imaging beta-secretase activity in living cells and organisms”
Molecular probes are provided for use in fluorescence microscopy procedures for monitoring beta-secretase enzyme (BACE) activity in living cells and organisms. The probes may be useful for monitoring Alzheimer’s Disease-associated BACE in living cells. By fluorescing when hydrolyzed by BACE, the probes can allow for real-time spatial and temporal assessment of enzymatic activity without the need for mutated cell lines or antibodies. The molecular probes may also be used to screen libraries of potential BACE inhibitors or evaluate how external stimuli affect BACE activity.

U.S. Patent No. 8,846,339
“Process of managed ecosystem fermentation”
The presently disclosed subject matter relates to Managed Ecosystem Fermentation (MEF) which is a continuous microbial process utilizing a managed ecosystem approach employing dozens to thousands of species of microorganisms, occurring in a controlled artificial environment and consuming organic materials without benefit of sterilization. The process of utilizing this fermentation for the consumption of organic materials on a continuous basis is within the scope of this disclosed subject matter. The process of separating chemicals as industrial chemicals from this fermentation on a continuous basis is within the scope of this disclosed subject matter. The process of separating biomass useful as high protein animal feed or fertilizer from this fermentation on a continuous (or semi-continuous) basis is within the scope of this disclosed subject matter.