NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – In a blow to Sequenom, a federal court has invalidated a patent held by the company covering the detection of cell-free DNA in the bloodstream of pregnant women.

On Wednesday, the US District Court for the Northern District of California granted Ariosa Diagnostics summary judgment and invalidated US Patent No. 6,258,540, saying the patent covers a phenomenon of nature, which is unpatentable.

Sequenom holds an exclusive license to the '540 patent, which underlies its MaterniT21 Plus non-invasive prenatal diagnostic test, from Isis Innovations.

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A former Synthetic Genomics attorney alleges that the firm discriminated against her and other female employees, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Due to privacy and lab certification questions, the planned giveaway of Orig3n testing kits at a Baltimore Ravens game was suspended.

Alnylam reports positive results from its phase 3 clinical trial of an RNAi-based drug, according to Stat News.

In Cell this week: adult mesenchymal cell populations in mouse lung, genetic diversity in HPV16 and cancer risk protection, and more.