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IP Watch: Siemens, Sequenom, Hologic's Gen-Probe, Life Technologies, Others Win US Patents

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Siemens has been awarded US Patent No. 8,352,195, "Methods and systems for identifying PCR primers specific to one or more target genomes."

Lance Palmer, Daniel Fasulo, Lujia Chen, and Gayle Wittenberg are named as inventors.

Describes methods and systems for identifying a primer pair for PCR specific to one or more target genomes. The methods and systems can be used to identify primers that can distinguish between target genomes and closely related non-target genomes.


Sequenom has been awarded US Patent No. 8,349,566, "Methods for high-level multiplexed polymerase chain reactions and homogenous mass extension reactions."

Martin Beaulieu and Dirk Van Den Boom are named as inventors.

Describes optimized methods for performing multiplexed detection of a plurality of sequence variations. Also provides methods for performing multiplexed amplification of target nucleic acid.


Gen-Probe (Hologic) has been awarded US Patent No. 8,349,564, "Method for continuous mode processing of the contents of multiple reaction receptacles in a real-time amplification assay."

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

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. More specifically, the analyzer includes stations for automatically preparing a sample, incubating the sample, preforming 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 describes a method for performing an automated diagnostic assay includes an automated process for isolating and amplifying a target analyte, and, in one embodiment, a method for real-time monitoring of the amplification process.


Life Technologies has been awarded US Patent No. 8,349,563, "Sequence amplification with target primers."

Kai Lao, Neil Straus, and Nanlan Xu are named as inventors.

Relates to the amplification of target nucleic acid sequences for various sequencing and/or identification techniques. This can be accomplished via the use of target primers, which are described in the patent and allow for the reduction in the amplification of undesired hybridization events (such as primer dimerization) while allowing for the amplification of the target nucleic acid sequences.


Igor Kutyavin has been awarded US Patent No. 8,143,006, "Use of base-modified deoxynucleoside triphosphates to improve nucleic acid detection."

Kutyavin is the founder of nucleic acid analysis consulting firm Perpetual Genomics (PCR Insider, 7/8/2010).

Aspects of the invention provide methods for detecting nucleic acids, the methods comprising nucleic acid amplification using base-modified deoxynucleoside 5'-triphosphates, according to the patent's abstract. Particular aspects relate to methods for enhancing hybridization properties of oligonucleotide primers and probes in assays detecting nucleic acids by amplifying target DNAs in the presence of base-modified duplex-stabilizing deoxyribonucleoside 5'-triphosphates to provide for modified target DNAs, and thereby considerably improving assay performance. The methods allow for an increase in reaction temperature in PCR-based detection systems or, alternatively, a reduction in the length of the oligonucleotide primers and probes. Certain aspects relate to improvement of real-time PCR assays, wherein nucleic acids of interest are detected as the reaction proceeds using fluorescent agents or oligonucleotide Förster resonance energy transfer probes.

The Scan

Study Finds Sorghum Genetic Loci Influencing Composition, Function of Human Gut Microbes

Focusing on microbes found in the human gut microbiome, researchers in Nature Communications identified 10 sorghum loci that appear to influence the microbial taxa or microbial metabolite features.

Treatment Costs May Not Coincide With R&D Investment, Study Suggests

Researchers in JAMA Network Open did not find an association between ultimate treatment costs and investments in a drug when they analyzed available data on 60 approved drugs.

Sleep-Related Variants Show Low Penetrance in Large Population Analysis

A limited number of variants had documented sleep effects in an investigation in PLOS Genetics of 10 genes with reported sleep ties in nearly 192,000 participants in four population studies.

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.