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UPDATE: Federal Court Denies Sequenom Preliminary Injunction Against Ariosa

The story has been updated to include comments by Sequenom.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Ariosa Diagnostics today said that Sequenom's motion for a preliminary injunction against it has been denied by a federal court.

The US District Court for the Northern District of California has denied Sequenom's motion to prevent Ariosa from offering or selling its Harmony Prenatal Test, pending the ultimate resolution of the litigation between the two firms, Ariosa said.

San Diego-based Sequenom filed its motion for a preliminary injunction against Ariosa in February.

"Ariosa Diagnostics has vigorously opposed Sequenom's drastic attempt to bar Ariosa from competing with our Harmony Prenatal Test, and we feel pleased and vindicated by the court's order denying Sequenom's preliminary injunction motion," Ariosa CEO Ken Song said in a statement.

Sequenom sued Ariosa, formerly called Aria Diagnostics, in January alleging Ariosa's prenatal trisomy test infringes its patent, US Patent No. 6,258,540. Ariosa had earlier sued Sequenom claiming that the firm is overly aggressive in enforcing a broad patent related to the use of circulating cell-free DNA in maternal plasma to diagnose fetal aneuploidies.

In a statement today, Sequenom Chairman and CEO Harry Hixson said that the court's decision was "disappointing" but that the decision "is by no means a final ruing on the infringement or the validity of the '540 patent." It is "one step in a long process to enforce our patent and protect our proprietary rights in the non-invasive prenatal testing marketplace."

Sequenom launched its trisomy 21 test called MaterniT21 Plus in October, while Ariosa launched its Harmony Prenatal Test nationwide in May through Laboratory Corporation of America.

In Friday morning trade on the Nasdaq, shares of Sequenom were down 5 percent at $3.88. San Jose, Calif.-based Ariosa is privately held.

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