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Agilent Licenses Array CGH from Abbott

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Agilent Technologies announced that Abbott Molecular granted it a license to manufacture, market, and sell oligo microarrays using a two-or-more color technology for gene expression and comparative genomic hybridization applications.

The worldwide, non-exclusive license covers the use of microarrays for research, commercial labs, and in vitro diagnostic applications.

Agilent has been selling its own line of chips for comparative genomic hybridization since early 2005, and has been moving closer to the diagnostic space in recent months. The firm recently upgraded the density of its line of CGH chips, raising the content per array to 244,000 features from 44,000 features.

Still, according to a company official, Agilent licensed the IP to shield against potential infringement suits from Abbott, which manufactures and sells its own array CGH chips. Abbott is also planning to launch a new system called the GeneTrait Microarray System Dx for clinical usage next year.

According to Condie Carmack, product manager of microarrays at Agilent, the Abbott deal gives Agilent “the freedom to operation in this area without encumbrance” — with “encumbrance” referring to “patent infringement, not market forces.”

Agilent does not anticipate that it will need to license further IP to guard against infringement suits, Carmack adds. “This is the only IP we know of in this area.”

Abbott’s CGH arrays use bacterial artificial chromosomes rather than oligos, but Carmack says that Agilent is not interested in obtaining or using BACs for its arrays.

“The right to make BAC arrays is not discussed in this sublicensing agreement. We believe that the oligo-based approach has distinct advantages over BACs,” Carmack says. “Oligos permit much higher resolution and you don’t have to maintain clone libraries. Oligos allow tremendous flexibility in synthesis,” he says.

— Justin Petrone

PATENT WATCH

US Patent 7,090,758. Capillary array electrophoresis scanner. Inventors: Richard Mathies and James Scherer. Assignee: Affymetrix. Issued: August 15, 2006.

This patent covers “an improved rotary confocal fluorescence capable of detecting analytes separated on over 1,000 capillaries simultaneously. This system uses a confocal microscope objective mirror assembly that rotates inside a vertical ring of capillaries to provide rapid and efficient excitation and detection of fluorescently labeled fragments separated within a cylindrical capillary array.”

US Patent 7,090,759. Apparatus and method for light-controlled electrokinetic assembly of particles near surfaces. Inventors: Michael Seul. Assignee: Bioarray Solutions. Issued: August 15, 2006.

This invention includes a method “for the manipulation of colloidal particulates and biomolecules at the interface between an insulating electrode such as silicon oxide and electrolyte solution.” Specifically, this method “provides a set of fundamental operation enabling interactive control over the creation and placement of planar arrays of several types of particles and biomolecules and the manipulation of array shape and size.”

SHORT READS

Researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute and the House Ear Institute will use Affymetrix GeneChips to identify genes and genetic interactions involved in age-related hearing loss. They will use the chips to study roughly 2,000 patient samples collected at the Hereditary Deafness Laboratory at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Illumina is slated to begin development of a multi-sample bovine BeadChip. The array content will be based on data from the draft sequence of the cow and recent genome assembly conducted by Baylor College of Medicine.

Applied Biosystems has secured a $24.5 million contract from the US Department of Defense to develop a system that can identify infectious diseases. ABI says the system will use a multiplex assay to detect emerging pathogens.

The Van Andel Research Institute has given GenTel Biosciences the go-ahead to commercialize microarray technology for measuring variations in the glycosylation of proteins. The technology uses antibody microarrays to profile the changes.

Gene Logic is slated to provide the FDA with access to some of its genomic data and software to assist the agency’s evaluation of voluntary genomic data submissions. The agency will have access to the company’s collection of toxicogenomic and rat classical toxicology data.

DATAPOINT

$735,000

Amount of NHGRI Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant awarded to NanoInk. The company will use the grant to design a patterning methodology to generate sub-micron sized features on solid surfaces.

The Scan

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.