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Nanogen and Aventis R&T Form SNP Analysis Joint Venture

NEW YORK, July 17 – Nanogen and Aventis Research and Technologies have formed a joint venture, Nanogen Recognomics, to develop new products and applications for Nanogen’s NanoChip SNP analysis system, Nanogen said Tuesday.

The new Frankfurt-based company, 60 percent owned by Nanogen and 40 percent by Aventis R&T, will focus on developing genetic-based diagnostics, screening, and detection techniques, including those using novel oligonucleotide attachment chemistries.

Nanogen Recognomics will draw on Frankfurt-based Aventis R&T’s intellectual property in synthetic oligonucleotide chemistry, and will license certain aspects of the NanoChip technology from Nanogen. In addition, Nanogen Recognomics will own several patents filed jointly by Aventis R&T and Nanogen as part of their ongoing research collaboration.

The two companies began collaborating in 1998 to investigate gene expression and drug discovery using high throughput screening of kinase inhibitors. However, the research collaboration will remain separate from the joint venture, according to a statement.

As part of the deal, Nanogen will have the rights to commercialize any new products that Nanogen Recognomics develops, but Aventis R&T will retain the right to apply the intellectual property it contributed to Nanogen Recognomics in fields outside of the joint venture.

Norbert Windhab, a former Aventis R&T employee, will lead the new company, which currently has 12 employees.

In a statement, Nanogen CEO Randy White said that the joint venture will allow Nanogen to invest in research and development of its NanoChip technology, while focusing internally on the commercialization of the NanoChip system and its planned entry into the clinical diagnostics market.

The NanoChip system uses a matrix of 100 charged pads to immobilize strands of DNA to perform assays, and can investigate SNPs, short tandem repeats, insertions, and deletions, according to the company. Currently, Nanogen is working with 13 unnamed partners, who receive the microarray system free-of-charge and develop new assays with the equipment. Nanogen has the rights to license the assay technology back from its partners to sell to other customers.

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