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Sequenom Buys NIPT Intellectual Property from Isis for $14.6M

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Sequenom has purchased intellectual property from Isis Innovations covering noninvasive prenatal testing for nearly $14.6 million, the company said today.

The deal includes $3.2 million as a final royalty payment under a previous licensing agreement and the waiver of $2.1 million in paid legal fees that Isis owed to Sequenom.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sequenom now owns global intellectual property for noninvasive prenatal genetic diagnostic testing on paternally inherited fetal nucleic acids derived from maternal plasma or serum. Previously, Sequenom had exclusive rights to the IP under a licensing agreement that was struck in 2005.

"The patents purchased from Isis Innovation will enable us to strengthen our intellectual property position worldwide, while reducing future expenditures," Sequenom CEO William Welch said in a statement. "We look forward to leveraging this important intellectual property for additional applications of our technology in the future."

The intellectual property includes a portfolio of patents, including US Patent No. 6,258,540, a broad patent underlying Sequenom's MaterniT21 Plus test for fetal aneuploidies.

The '540 patent has been the subject of numerous lawsuits involving all four US-based NIPT firms — Sequenom, Ariosa Diagnostics, Natera, and Illumina's Verinata Health.

Last year, the US District Court for the Northern District of California invalidated the '540 patent, a decision that Sequenom is appealing.

In addition, the US Patent and Trademark Office board recently declared certain claims of the '540 patent unpatentable, while upholding other claims. The board also denied motions by Isis to amend the claims and to exclude evidence.