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IP Watch: Recent Patents Related to PCR, Nucleic Acid Amplification, and Sample Prep: Jun 21, 2011

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Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory of Singapore has been awarded US Patent No. 7,964,716, "Fluorescent primer system for detection of nucleic acids (Q priming)."

Xiao Kun Liu and Yan Hong are named as inventors on the patent.

The patent discloses a self-quenching primer comprising a fluorophore that can be quenched by guanine; an oligonucleotide sequence that forms a hairpin; and an oligonucleotide that is a target-specific sequence. The patent also discloses use of the primer in amplification reactions, particularly in polymerase chain reactions, during which the fluorophore is released thereby emitting fluorescence.


Gen-Probe has been awarded US Patent No. 7,964,413, "Method for continuous mode processing of multiple reaction receptacles in a real-time amplification assay."

Jerzy Macioszek, Christopher Davis, Gary Lair, Thanh Nguyen, Haitao Li, Florence Li, Byron Knight, Robert Scalese, and Robert Heinz are named as inventors on the patent.

Describes an automated analyzer for performing multiple diagnostic assays simultaneously. The analyzer includes multiple stations in which discrete aspects of the assay are performed on fluid samples contained in sample vessels, including stations for automatically preparing a sample, incubating the sample, performing an analyte isolation procedure, ascertaining the presence of a target analyte, and analyzing the amount of a target analyte. An automated receptacle transporting system moves the sample vessels from one station to the next. The patent also discloses a method for performing an automated diagnostic assay, including an automated process for isolating and amplifying a target analyte and, in one embodiment, a method for real-time monitoring of the amplification process.


Applied Biosystems (Life Technologies) has been awarded US Patent No. 7,964,350, "Sample preparation for in situ nucleic acid analysis."

Richard Fekete and Annalee Nguyen are named as inventors on the patent.

Describes processes and provides methods and compositions for sample preparation for in situ RNA or DNA analysis. The provided processes allow DNA or RNA analysis to be carried out in the same tube or on an aliquot of the prepared sample without centrifugation or extraction. The preparation process can be carried out at room temperature in as little as seven minutes and is amenable to high-throughput processing using manual or robotic platforms, according to the patent's abstract.


The California Institute of Technology has been awarded US Patent No. 7,964,139, "Microfluidic rotary flow reactor matrix."

Jian Liu, Carl Hansen, and Stephen Quake are named as inventors on the patent.

Describes a microfluidic device comprising a matrix of rotary flow reactors. According to the patent's abstract, the microfluidic matrix device offers a solution to the "world-to-chip" interface problem by accomplishing two important goals simultaneously: achieving an economy of scale in reagent consumption and minimization of pipetting steps. Using the device, N2 independent assays can be performed with only 2N+1 pipetting steps using a single aliquot of enzyme amortized over all reactors. The chip reduces labor relative to conventional fluid-handling techniques by using an order of magnitude fewer pipetting steps, and reduces cost by consuming two to three orders of magnitude less reagent per reaction. A PCR format has immediate applications in medical diagnosis and gene testing, the patent's abstract states. Beyond PCR, the chip provides a universal and flexible platform for biological and chemical assays requiring parsimonious use of precious reagents and highly automated processing.


Akonni Biosystems has been awarded US Patent No. 7,955,841, "Temperature control device with a flexible temperature control surface."

Phil Belgrader, Christopher Cooney, Robert Doebler, Anna Hickerson, Bruce Irvine, Ali Nadim, James Sterling, and Reza Miraghaie are named as inventors on the patent.

Discloses a device for controlling temperature in a reaction chamber. The device comprises a bladder assembly comprising a housing dimensioned to hold a reaction chamber disposed within an interior volume of the housing; and a first temperature-control bladder disposed within the housing. The first temperature-control bladder is configured to receive a temperature-control fluid and comprises a flexible, heat-conductive surface that comes in contact with at least a portion of an exterior surface of the reaction chamber after receiving the temperature-control fluid. The patent also discloses a bladder thermal cycler, a temperature-control bladder assembly, and methods for producing a thermal cycle in a reaction chamber.

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