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Verinata Sues Ariosa, LabCorp for Patent Infringement

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Verinata Health today announced it is suing Ariosa Diagnostics and Laboratory Corporation of America for patent infringement.

Verinata filed its lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging Ariosa and LabCorp infringe US Patent No. 8,296,076 entitled, "Noninvasive diagnosis of fetal aneuploidy by sequencing." The patent was issued to Stanford University on Oct. 23, 2012, and is licensed exclusively to Verinata.

Verinata claims Ariosa infringes the patent through the sale of its Harmony prenatal test, which uses sequencing technology for the analysis of cell-free DNA from a maternal blood draw to detect for common fetal trisomies. Ariosa began offering the test in the US and Canada in the spring through a partnership with LabCorp.

Last week, Ariosa also reached a deal with The Fetal Medicine Centre to offer the Harmony test in the UK. Verinata launched its fetal aneuploidy test called verifi in March.

"We believe that we have the leading intellectual property in the field of non-invasive prenatal diagnostics using sequencing of cell-free DNA, and that the in-licensed patents from Stanford University are an important part of that intellectual property estate," Jeffrey Bird, Verinata CEO and executive chairman, said in a statement. "We believe that the Stanford '076 patent … is a fundamental patent, and that Ariosa's prenatal test falls under its claims as we have set forth in the complaint."

The Redwood City, Calif.-based company seeks damages and an injunction against the defendants.

On deadline, Ariosa and LabCorp did not respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit continues a string of litigation that companies operating in the hotly contested non-invasive fetal aneuploidy testing space have filed against each other. In February, Verinata filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against Sequenom, asking a court to find that it does not infringe on a patent held by the San Diego firm.

Ariosa also has sued Sequenom, as has Natera, while Sequenom has sued Ariosa and Natera.