By Julia Karow
Life Technologies plans to partner with diagnostic companies to develop clinical applications for the Ion Torrent technology, the company said this week.
According to CEO and chairman Greg Lucier, the Ion Torrent technology is "creating a compelling solution set for hospitals, diagnostic companies and the like."
During a conference call to discuss Life Tech's fourth-quarter earnings, he said that the firm plans to partner on the clinical use of Ion Torrent. "We will out-license that technology to partners that can really make the most of it."
"We did that strategy with great success with qPCR in the research realm, and we'll do that strategy with great success in the clinical realm with Ion Torrent," he said, adding that the firm has already seen a lot of interest from potential partners.
Lucier noted that the high speed of the upcoming Ion Proton in particular "makes all the world of a difference" to potential clinical users, along with other advantages, such as the read length, currently 200 base pairs, which he said will increase further and enable additional applications.
For example, he said, Life Tech is already working with customers on a potential application of the Proton for HLA sequencing, which requires long read lengths.
In response to an analyst's question about how Roche's hostile takeover bid for Illumina might influence Life Tech's own plans to take sequencing to the clinic, Lucier said that it "really doesn't affect our plans."
"We are able to partner with other diagnostic companies in a very compelling way," he said, adding that this effort will be led by Ronnie Andrews, the company's new president and head of medical sciences.
Lucier said that "there are other areas and new ideas we have of business models that we're also carrying out," but did not provide any details.
Andrews, he said, will expand Life Tech's presence in the molecular diagnostics space "through partnership strategies, targeted acquisitions, and continued innovation around the workflows."
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