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Oxford Gene Technology, Bioarray Solutions, Case Western Reserve University, Translational Genomics Research Institute, Affymetrix, Xceed Molecular, Moffitt Cancer Center, Aushon Biosystems, BioTeltec, Alphametrix, SciGene

OGT Sues BioArray Solutions for Patent Infringement
Oxford Gene Technology last week said it filed suit against Bioarray Solutions for infringing three of its patents.
According to court documents, OGT filed suit May 28 in the US District Court for the District of Delaware. The suit alleges that by selling its Beadchip microarray products, Warren, NJ-based BioArray Solutions is infringing on US Patent No. US 6,307,039, “Method for analyzing a polynucleotide containing a variable sequence and a set or array of oligonucleotides therefor”; US Patent No. 6,770,751, “Method for analyzing a polynucleotide containing a variable sequence and a set or array of oligonucleotides therefor”; and US Patent No. 7,192,707, “Methods for analyzing polynucleotide targets using tethered oligonucleotide probes.”
OGT is seeking damages and a recovery of legal fees as well as an injunction against BioArray Solutions from selling products it claims infringe upon its IP. The lead inventor on all three patents is microarray pioneer Sir Edwin Southern, who co-founded OGT in 1995 to protect his patent estate. OGT declined to comment on the litigation.
In March, Immucor, an Atlanta-based in vitro diagnostics company, announced its intention to buy BioArray Solutions for $117 million to grow its blood testing business (see BAN 3/18/2008). Immucor has not announced the closure of that acquisition. BioArray Solutions did not respond to questions about the acquisition or the suit by the time of this newsletter’s publication.

Case Western, TGen to Use Affy Arrays in Diabetes Study
Case Western Reserve University and the Translational Genomics Research Institute will use Affymetrix’s Human SNP Array 6.0 to study genetic pathways associated with a certain complication of diabetes, Affy said this week.
The two institutions will use Affy’s arrays to focus on finding genetic links to diabetic nephropathy using data from a study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
The Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND) Consortium research program stretched over five years and involved 11 different recruitment centers and 10,000 subjects. The FIND Consortium has identified several genetic variants linked to nephropathy in African-Americans, European-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and Native Americans.
The researchers involved in this end of the project hope to use the information to develop therapies to prevent or control nephropathy, and to identify people at risk for progressive renal disease.
"Diabetes continues to mystify researchers because both genetic and environmental factors appear to play significant roles in the manifestation of the disease,” Affymetrix President Kevin King said in a statement.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Xceed Molecular Licenses Moffitt Gene Signature for Colon Cancer Dx Research
Xceed Molecular has licensed the rights to use a gene signature for colon cancer from the Moffitt Cancer Center, the company said this week.
The Wellesley, Mass.-based firm has purchased the worldwide, exclusive rights to use the gene signature to develop a molecular test that can predict patient prognosis for the disease, which Xceed said is diagnosed in over 100,000 Americans each year. Xceed will work with Tampa, Fla.-based Moffitt researchers to complete clinical development and validation of the signature, which uses biopsy tissues from colonoscopy to predict the chances of return of the disease.
The collaborators hope to develop a list of genes that Xceed will include in its TipChip colon cancer microarray device that runs on the company’s Ziplex System. Xceed said that it will run the first samples in its Expression Services Lab in Toronto to optimize the performance of the signature on the Ziplex System. The company also will provide Moffitt with a Ziplex for additional validation studies.
“We have high hopes that the gene signature that we are developing may be useful in helping physicians to make critical treatment decisions, but the great challenge in this field has been turning promising biomarkers into routine diagnostic tools,” Tim Yeatman, a Moffitt researcher who helped develop the colon cancer gene signature, said in a statement.

Aushon Biosystems Adds Distributors in Europe and Asia
Aushon Biosystems this week announced partnerships with three distributors that will allow the Billerica, Mass.-based company to sell its 2470 microarrayer in several European and Asian countries.
According to Aushon, BioTeltec will market and support Aushon’s products in France, Italy, and Switzerland. Molecular Diagnostics Korea will handle distribution in Korea while Scrum will distribute Aushon’s spotter in Japan.
Financial details of the agreements were not discussed.

Alphametrix to Sell SciGene Products in Germany, Austria
Alphametrix will sell SciGene’s entire line of products in Germany and Austria under an exclusive agreement announced by the firms last week.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based SciGene makes automated platforms for hybridization and post-hybridization processing of microarrays. Among its products are the Little Dipper Microarray Processor, Mai Tai Hybridization System, and NoZone Workstations.
SciGene said that it selected Rödermark, Germany-based AlphaMetrix as its distributor due to its experience in the microarray market.

The Scan

Ancient Greek Army Ancestry Highlights Mercenary Role in Historical Migrations

By profiling genomic patterns in 5th century samples from in and around Himera, researchers saw diverse ancestry in Greek army representatives in the region, as they report in PNAS.

Estonian Biobank Team Digs into Results Return Strategies, Experiences

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics outline a procedure developed for individual return of results for the population biobank, along with participant experiences conveyed in survey data.

Rare Recessive Disease Insights Found in Individual Genomes

Researchers predict in Genome Medicine cross-population deletions and autosomal recessive disease impacts by analyzing recurrent nonallelic homologous recombination-related deletions.

Genetic Tests Lead to Potential Prognostic Variants in Dutch Children With Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Researchers in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine found that the presence of pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants was linked to increased risk of death and poorer outcomes in children with pediatric dilated cardiomyopathy.