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Illumina Claims ABI In Breach of Genotyping Pact

NEW YORK, Dec. 5 - Illumina is claiming that Applied Biosystems is in breach of a joint-development deal the companies penned in 1999 to commercialize a genotyping system.


The notification, made in a statement released early this morning, comes on the heels of a patent-infringement suit that ABI filed against Illumina related to its own oligo-ligation assay. Oh, and ABI alleges Illumina breached the contract, and is seeking arbitration.


"We are deeply disappointed that after [ABI's] failure to achieve its development responsibilities under the agreement, they have decided to sue their partner, without any attempt to contact us before filing, in an effort to restrain us from selling our independently developed system," Jay Flatley, Illumina's president and CEO, said in the statement. ABI's case "is without merit and we plan to vigorously defend the company and its products."


Illumina announced in July that ABI would be unable to meet the planned mid-year product launch of the new system, the company said. This delay followed an earlier one by the Applera unit, this one from the partners' initial launch date of December 2001.


"The Joint Development Agreement has passed its third anniversary without release of a collaboration product, yet Illumina continues to have no information on when or if ABG will complete its development effort," Illumina said in the statement.


Added Flatley: "Despite ABI's delays and litigation tactics, we stand ready to fulfill our obligations under the JDA."


Officials from ABI were not immediately available for comment.