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Applera Withdraws Opposition to Affy Patents in Europe

Applied Biosystems parent Applera last week withdrew its opposition to an effort by Affymetrix to win back IP rights to a patent the European Patent Office revoked in its entirety one year ago (see BAN 3/9/2005).

The patent in question, "Methods using nucleic acid hybridization patterns on a matrix of oligonucleotides" (EP0834576) was initially granted to Affymetrix on Nov. 28, 2001, and published in the European Register the following month.

However it was revoked last year after Applera, CombiMatrix, Abbott Laboratories, PamGene, and others successfully opposed the patent through the EPO's opposition division.

Affy appealed the EPO's decision in July 2005, after which Applera and other opponents continued their effort to oppose Affy's rights to enforce EP0834576.

Sarah Roques, the patent attorney representing Applera in the case, declined to comment on the move.

According to online EPO records, Applera withdrew its opposition to EP0834576 last week, as well as the three other Affy patents it was opposing in Europe last month. Of the latter three, Applera was the only party opposing "Method of forming arrays of polymers" (EP0972564), but other parties will continue to oppose "Identification of nucleic acids in samples," (EP0834575) and "Expression monitoring by hybridization to high density oligonucleotide arrays" (EP0853679), as well as the '576 patent, according to the database.

In December, Applied Biosystems said that it had licensed a number of Affymetrix patents related to the manufacture, sale, and use of microarrays for gene expression analysis, taking a non-exclusive, worldwide license to the patents.

ABI said at the time that it will use the licenses to expand its Expression Array System and to enable customers to use that system for gene expression, research and development purposes.


Wyeth Research Expands PGx Contract with Expression Analysis

Wyeth and Expression Analysis have expanded their July 2004 pharmacogenomics testing services agreement, Expression Analysis said last week.

The microarray services company will use the Affymetrix GeneChip platform and will be compliant with 21 CFR Part 58, Expression Analysis said in a statement.

Steve McPhail, President and CEO of Expression Analysis said in a statement that the new commitment by Wyeth Research "validates [EA's] efforts to facilitate the use of this technology in pharmaceutical clinical trials."

Financial details were not provided.


Gene Express Joins FDA's Microarray Quality Control Program

Gene Express will participate in the US Food and Drug Administration's Micro Array Quality Control Consortium, the company said last week.

Under the agreement, Gene Express will analyze samples with its StaRT-PCR technology.

Other members of the consortium include the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Affymetrix, GE Healthcare, Applied Biosystems, Agilent, Eppendorf, Genospectra, Illumina, Biogen, and Novartis.


PerkinElmer Sells Semiconductor Business to Tara for $26.5M

PerkinElmer has completed the sale of its semiconductor business to Tara Capital, the company said this week.

The assets were sold for approximately $26.5 million in cash and assumed liabilities and an earn-out that could increase that amount to more than $30 million, PerkinElmer said in a statement.

The sale, which PerkinElmer originally expected to close by the end of last year, follows the December 2005 sale of PerkinElmer's aerospace division to Eaton and represents the last of the companies' divestitures of its fluid sciences units.


GRI to Represent Biomicro Systems in UK, Ireland, and France

Genetic Research Instrumentation, a supplier of biotechnology products, will sell BioMicro Systems' Maui microarray hybridization technologies in the UK, France, and Ireland, the companies said last week.

GRI's teams of technical sales specialists will sell BioMicro's complete Maui portfolio, including its 12-bay hybridization system, its four-bay hybridization system, and its line of Maui mixer hybridization chambers," the companies said.

Distribution will be handled through GRI's Molecular Biology business in Ireland and the UK, and by GRI France in France.

Financial details were not disclosed.

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