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Illumina Lawsuit: Affy's GeneTitan Infringes Patents

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Last month, llumina filed a lawsuit against Affymetrix that alleges that the company's new GeneTitan automated platform, as well as several of the system's components and related products, infringe Illumina's array technology.
The new litigation commenced nearly a year and a half after Illumina paid Affy a one-time $90 million payment to settle multiple suits that Affy had filed in the US, Germany, and UK between 2004 and 2007. Illumina did not admit liability as part of the settlement.

The new suit, filed May 4 in the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, alleges that a variety of Affymetrix products infringe Illumina's US Patent No. 7,510,841, entitled, "Methods of Making and Using Composite Arrays for the Detection of a Plurality of Target Analytes." The US Patent and Trademark Office awarded the patent to Illumina on March 31.

The Affy products named in the suit include the GeneChip HT RG-230 PM Array Plate, the GeneChip HT Array Plate Scanner, the GeneChip HT 3' IVT Express Kit, the GeneChip Array Station, and the GeneTitan instrument.

In a research note published by Leerink Swann analyst Isaac Ro, he described the new suit as "Round 2" of litigation between the companies. Ro predicted that it would have "no material impact" on Illumina, which he described as "actively seeking to protect its IP," and described it as "marginally negative" for Affy.

"We think this news could pressure [Affy's] existing burn rate and note that the new line of peg arrays [named in the suit] is key to reducing [Affy's] manufacturing costs and cost per data point," Ro said.

Affy launched the products named in the suit last September as part of the rollout of its new upgraded microarray platform. The system, priced at roughly $300,000, includes Affy's ArrayStation, launched in 2005, which fulfills automated sample-preparation and liquid-handling duties, while the GeneTitan provides all other array-processing steps.

— Justin Petrone


Datapoint

5
Number of companies that announced the ability of their -respective flu chips to detect influenza A, subtype H1N1, also known as the swine flu.


Microarray notes

Golden Helix has modified its SNP & Variation Suite software to provide tools for Agilent's copy number variation micro-array data, including association studies, data prep, quality assurance, inter-action analyses, study review, and predictive modeling.

Scientists at Duke University's Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy will use WaferGen's SmartChip Real-Time PCR system to validate polymorphisms associated with breast cancer prognosis and response to therapy.

A team led by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center used gene expression analysis to find three genes involved in breast cancer metastasis to the brain: COX2, an epidermal growth factor receptor ligand gene, and α2,6-sialtransferase ST6GALNAC5.


Funded grants

$441,239/FY 2009
Enthalpy Array Screening and Ranking of Drug Fragments for Drug Discovery
Grantee: Francisco Torres, Palo Alto Research Center
Began: May 1, 2009; Ends: Apr. 30, 2012

Torres will develop enthalpy array technology for pre-screening fragments prior to full functional probe screening in order to increase drug target screening efficiency. In addition, enthalpy arrays can be used to determine binding strength, specificity, and binding enthalpy for use in fragment elaboration, the step after fragment hits are established, the abstract states.

$199,260/FY 2009
A Novel Array For Detection of Unstable Tandem Repeats
Grantee: Russell Margolis, Johns Hopkins University
Began: Mar. 14, 2008; Ends: Feb. 28, 2010

In collaboration with Evan Eichler and NimbleGen, Margolis will develop an oligonucleotide array specifically designed to detect changes in the number of repeating units in over 3,000 tandem repeats. He will test the array on 80 people with schizophrenia, who may harbor significant disease-causing variations of longer tandem repeats, genes not covered by conventional CNV arrays.

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