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Ravgen Sues Natera Over Cell-Free DNA Genetic Testing Patents

NEW YORK – Noninvasive prenatal diagnostics firm Ravgen has sued Natera for alleged infringement of two of its patents around cell-free DNA testing for genetic disorders.

In its complaint, filed on Monday in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas Waco Division, the Columbia, Maryland-based company claimed that Natera infringes its US Patents No. 7,727,720 and 7,332,277, both titled "Methods for detection of genetic disorders."

The patents were issued in 2010 and 2008, respectively, and list Ravinder Dhallan, Ravgen's founder, chairman, and CEO, as the sole inventor. They cover methods that prevent cell lysis in a sample, which increases the fraction of cell-free DNA that can be analyzed.

Ravgen claims that Natera's Panorama and Vistara noninvasive prenatal genetic tests, its Signatera circulating tumor DNA test, and its Prospera cell-free DNA transplant rejection test infringe the two patents.

According to the complaint, in 2015 Natera expressed an interest in licensing or acquiring Ravgen's patent portfolio, which includes five other patents, but ultimately did not. Ravgen said it sent a letter to Natera on May 15 of this year requesting a meeting to discuss a potential license, to which Natera did not respond.

Ravgen asked the court for a jury trial and to declare that Natera has willfully infringed its patents. It also asked for damages for past and ongoing infringement, attorney costs, and either a permanent injunction or a compulsory ongoing licensing fee.

In a statement, a Natera spokesperson said that "we are confident that we will prevail in this suit, should it proceed. We do not expect it to disrupt our operations in any way."