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Agilent Gains Increased Access to Incyte s Content to Expand its Custom Array Business

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Agilent and Incyte have expanded an existing licensing agreement to enable Agilent to offer a more comprehensive range of catalog and custom microarrays using Incyte’s gene patent portfolio and its LifeSeq genomic database. Using LifeSeq, Agilent said it would develop highly specific cDNA- and oligonucleotide-based microarrays.

“The initial agreement was to provide them with the physical reagents and content they would use to spot down on cDNA arrays,” said Paul Chirrico, an Incyte spokesperson.“ This agreement allows them to extensively use the LifeSeq database and Incyte’s complete portfolio of over 600 gene patents to design the cDNA arrays as well as oligo arrays, and to gain access to Incyte’s array-ready clone sets.”

The companies said that the expanded agreement would enhance the development of custom arrays for customers of Agilent’s Technology Access Program who are subscribers to Incyte’s databases or who wish to include LifeSeq sequences or Incyte-patented sequences in their custom arrays.

“Now Agilent’s going to really ramp up the custom part of their program,” Chirrico said.

Agilent said it is striving to make custom arrays available within one to two weeks, and offer up to 25,000 unique probes, said Dave Hildebrandt, the controller for Agilent’s Bio-research Solutions Unit.

Incyte said it would receive additional license fees as well as royalties on sales of microarrays that Agilent develops using Incyte’s patent portfolio and technology.

Agilent customers for oligo arrays will be able to click through to Incyte’s database to obtain information (for a fee) about the genes they are studying.

Motorola, Corning, and the NEN division of Perkin Elmer also have agreements to license Incyte’s content for their arrays. But while Motorola only makes oligo arrays, Corning only makes cDNA arrays, and NEN only has access to the nonproprietary ready-to- array sets, Agilent is using Incyte content for both cDNA and oligo arrays. “They’re unlike any other partners in that they are operational on both platforms and are reaching a huge contingent of the array market,” Chirrico said.

Also, Incyte makes its own catalog and custom LifeArrays using its LifeSeq content.

Neither Agilent nor Incyte, however, sees any problem with the fact that they are both collaborators and competitors.

“The more broadly we can get our genes out there and get people doing research and development based on Incyte’s genes, the better,” said Incyte senior director of corporate development Holly Marcum. “These microarrays are a wonderful vehicle for getting these genes out there.”

— MMJ