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Ravgen's NIPT Patents Found Valid in Administrative Challenge

NEW YORK – Administrative patent judges this week upheld prenatal testing firm Ravgen's patents on commonly used methods for noninvasive prenatal tests, ending a challenge by Laboratory Corporation of America.

Maryland-based Ravgen won $273 million in damages against Labcorp in September through a patent-infringement suit over NIPTs Labcorp sold since it launched its first test in October 2014. Following the verdict, Labcorp continued trying to get Ravgen's patents invalidated through trial-like inter partes reviews by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the US Patent and Trademark Office, alleging that Ravgen's methods were unpatentable because they were obvious and anticipated through prior study results and widely known techniques. Three administrative patent judges said in a ruling Monday that Labcorp fell short of proving those claims.

Ravgen has sued eight NIPT makers since 2020 alleging at least 21 products or product lines infringed two patents on the methods of isolating cell-free fetal nucleic acid, inhibiting lysis in maternal cells, and identifying ratios of alleles at locations that would indicate the presence of a chromosomal abnormality. Its attorney said this fall the firm was in negotiations with about a dozen more NIPT makers.

He said the company has been seeking royalties of $100 per test, similar to the amount sought in the Labcorp lawsuit. The two patents that form the basis of the lawsuits expire in March 2023.

Ravgen reached settlements with PerkinElmer in September 2021 and Quest Diagnostics in October 2022, and it has pending suits against Biora Therapeutics, BioReference Laboratories' Ariosa, Illumina, Myriad Genetics, and Natera. Illumina has a pending challenge before the PTAB.