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Licensing Linear: Ambion Lassoes Rights to Incyte Amplification Tech

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Licensing Linear: Ambion Lassoes Rights to Incyte Amplification Tech

Ambion of Austin, Texas, has non-exclusively licensed RNA linear amplification technology — the so-called Eberwine protocol — from Incyte Genomics, the companies said last week.

Ambion has been manufacturing and selling kits based on the technology since last fall. Sales have been “absolutely fantastic,” according to Ambion president Bruce Leander. “RNA amplification is a hot area,” he said. “Researchers are very interested in expression and regulation, and the ability to amplify RNA is increasingly important.”

The companies did not disclose whether the licensing agreement includes royalties from the kits or just a flat fee.

Linear RNA amplification technology is an antisense method that increases cellular RNA expression in order to reveal gene expression patterns. This particular technique uses a series of enzymatic reactions to amplify small amounts of RNA, a process that may create a more accurate portrait of relative mRNA ratios than PCR.

Ambion’s aRNA kit is capable of 1,000x RNA amplification, according to the company. A 20-reaction kit retails in the United States for $795.

Rival RNA company Arcturus, of Mountain View, Calif., sells a somewhat similar linear amplification kit, RiboAmp, for $695. The kit, which is based on Arcturus’ own patent-pending technology, includes low-elution volume DNA and RNA purification columns and reagents, which are designed for obtaining large amounts of aRNA from minute sample sizes.

Incyte has also licensed its patent for the linear amplification protocol to Agilent, Merck, American Home Products, and most recently during a settlement of their long-standing litigation, Affymetrix.

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