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Agilent Technologies, Illumina

Agilent Technologies has received US Patent No. 7,166,258, “Automation-optimized microarray package.” The patent claims a method and system for packaging microarrays into sealed reaction chambers and storage vessels. According to the patent’s abstract, a pocket strip is manufactured as a linear sequence of pockets, or wells, into which microarrays are positioned. A cover strip is then heat sealed to the upper surface of the pocket strip to create a linear sequence of sealed reaction chambers or storage vessels, each containing a microarray. Mechanical features or optical features are also included along the length of the pocket strip to facilitate mechanical translation and positioning of microarrays embedded within the microarray strip, the abstract continues. Covers are then affixed to provide resealable ports through which solutions can be introduced, or extracted from, the reaction chambers. In an alternate embodiment, the microarrays are deposited directly onto the cover strip, eliminating the need for separate microarray substrates.

Illumina has received US Patent No. 7,166,431, “Combinatorial decoding of random nucleic acid arrays.” The patent describes an invention comprising a plurality of nucleic acids, where each nucleic acid is represented by an invariant sequence, a variable sequence, and a label. In addition, patent claims a method for decoding an array composition. An array composition comprised of a substrate with a surface is described that contains identifier nucleic acid sequences comprising a primer sequence and a decoder sequence. The method then calls for adding a set of combinatorial decoding probes that comprise a priming sequence, at least one decoding nucleotide, and a label, and detecting the presence of the label. In addition the patent provides kits that include a substrate, a population of microspheres, and a decoder probe composition.

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