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Illumina Sues Ariosa Dx Alleging Infringement of NIPT Patent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Illumina announced after the close of the market on Friday that it is suing Ariosa Diagnostics for alleged patent infringement.

In the lawsuit filed in US District Court for the Northern District of California, Illumina has alleged that Ariosa is infringing US Patent No. 7,955,794, titled "Multiplex nucleic acid reactions." According to the patent abstract, the invention covers multiplexing methods for amplifying and/or genotyping samples simultaneously.

The patent was issued in June 2011 to researchers in San Diego and assigned to Illumina.

The lawsuit takes aim at Ariosa's Harmony Prenatal Test, "including its use of digital analysis of selected regions that, among other things, enables simultaneous quantification of hundreds of DNA loci," Illumina said in a statement.

Illumina's lawsuit adds to the pile of litigation that has marked the non-invasive prenatal testing market, including a lawsuit by Verinata Health, which Illumina acquired in 2013, against Ariosa claiming it infringed US Patent Nos. 8,296,076 and 8,318,430. Verinata offers the Verifi test, which competes against Harmony.

Last October, the US District Court for the Northern District of California issued a Markman ruling that sought to determine the definition of certain language used by Ariosa and Verinata, as well as their competitors in the NIPT space, Sequenom and Natera, in litigation over six NIPT-related patents. Illumina said on Friday that the court in that case issued a claim construction order "providing the court's interpretation of the disputed patent terms which supports the position that Ariosa infringes those patents."

An Ariosa spokesperson declined to comment about the lawsuit citing ongoing litigation. Earlier last week, the San Jose, Calif.-based firm priced its IPO, saying it anticipates net proceeds of about $60.6 million.

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