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Sequenom Licenses Rights to Macular Degeneration Genetic Test

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Sequenom today said that it has licensed from Optherion exclusive worldwide rights to intellectual property covering diagnostic tests for genetic predisposition to late-stage age-related macular degeneration.

The licensing deal covers IP for AMD-related genetic variants that have been confirmed in multiple clinical studies around the world, according to Sequenom.

The Sequenom Center for Molecular Medicine, the San Diego-based firm's CLIA-certified lab, will develop and commercialize a test under its SensiGene brand name for genetic tests. The lab anticipates a launch of the test in early 2011.

In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission today, Sequenom disclosed that it will pay New Haven, Conn.-based Optherion a non-creditable license maintenance fee equal to $260,000 per year if the first commercial sale of the licensed product does not occur in the US on or before Jan. 31, 2011. Following the first commercial sale of a licensed product in the US, Sequenom will no longer be required to pay the license maintenance fee, but instead will pay Optherion an annual minimum royalty payment that ranges between $260,000 and $270,000, which will be creditable against any royalties due based upon licensed product sales.

The royalty rate and payments based on development, regulatory, and commercial milestones have not been disclosed.

Sequenom also agreed to pay Optherion nearly $1.1 million for prior patent-related costs and other expenses.

"This opportunity is an excellent fit for Sequenom," Ronald Lindsay, SVP of R&D for Sequenom, said in a statement. "The format of the assay that we plan to develop is optimal for our MassArray technology."

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