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Motorola Licenses Molecular Staging Technology; MSI Raises $41.25M

NEW YORK, Dec 19 – Motorola said Tuesday it had reached an agreement to exclusively license Molecular Staging’s Rolling Circle Amplification Technology for use in its diagnostic nucleic acid bioarrays, marking Motorola’s fourth genomics collaboration as it attempts to gain a foothold in the burgeoning market.

In exchange for the technology, Motorola will pay a licensing fee as well as make equity investments in Molecular Staging. Motorola also received an option to increase its stake in the future.

“They are the key patent holder for this technology,” a spokeswoman for Motorola said about Molecular Staging. “We weren’t considering anybody else.”

Molecular Staging’s Rolling Circle Amplification Technology is an isothermal amplification process for detecting and measuring protein, DNA, and RNA. The technology is seen as useful in cutting costs and increasing throughput by eliminating the need for allele-specific amplification of DNA samples.

In a separate announcement, Molecular Staging of New Haven, Conn., said Tuesday it raised $41.25 million in a private round of financing. The investors included Investor AB, Orbimed, and Cooper Hill Partners.

Motorola's spokeswoman declined to comment on the size of the equity investment Motorola made in the company or the size of the option it received.

Over the past few months Motorola has secured collaborative deals with Compugen, Incyte Genomics, and Packard BioScience to integrate their technologies into Motorola’s bioarrays.

“We want to be number one in genomics and bioarrays,” said the spokeswoman.

While Motorola has had to go out of house for many of the technologies that will help the company to achieve this goal, Motorola contributes its expertise in miniaturizing technologies, the spokeswoman said.

“Motorola brings its expertise in miniaturizing, manufacturing, and innovating,” she said. “We have a long history of being a company that innovates.”

Recently, Nicholas Naclerio, vice president of Motorola's Biochips Systems unit, said that Motorola eventually plans to develop a handheld device for home-based DNA testing.

Last week, Motorola announced a deal to s hip its CodeLink Bioarray System to the Mayo Clinic.

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