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QuantumDx Expands Nanosys License for FET Biosensors, Preps MDx System

By Ben Butkus

MONTREAL – Early-stage molecular diagnostics firm QuantumDx said today that it has exclusively licensed from Nanosys the rights to use nanowire field effect transistor biosensors in biomarker detection and sequencing applications.

The pact builds on a previous non-exclusive license agreement between the companies, and will allow QuantumDx to commercialize a handheld, point-of-care molecular diagnostics platform integrating sample prep, PCR amplification, and detection using either nanowire arrays or nanowire-enabled sequencing, company executives told GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication PCR Insider this week.

However, executives said that the company plans to first commercialize a DNA extraction and fractionation chip based on its own technology as a front-end sample prep product for DNA sequencers and other nucleic acid analysis platforms.

Specific terms of the agreement give QuantumDx exclusive worldwide rights to Nanosys' intellectual property surrounding nanotubes and nanowires for DNA sequencing, detecting nucleic acid biomarkers associated with disease, and other life science applications.

QuantumDx will then use the nanowires as field effect transistor, or FET, biosensors, along with its own proprietary molecular biology, chemistry, and microfluidic technologies in a series of portable devices for molecular diagnostics and DNA sequencing.

John Burn, medical director for QuantumDx, is slated to discuss the various platforms under development at the company on Saturday in an "Advances in Technology" session at the American Society of Human Genetics conference, held here this week.

"It's difficult to see how it could get better than having a system that actually connects nucleotides directly onto field effect transistors, which in turn are binding DNA instantly and turning it into a computer code with almost no noise," Burn told PCR Insider at the conference.

In exchange for the license, Nanosys has received an upfront license fee of an undisclosed amount, and will receive downstream royalty payments.

See this week's issue of PCR Insider for an in-depth look at QuantumDx's technology and its plans for the market.

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