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Advanced Liquid Logic Licenses Digital Microfluidics Tech from France's CEA-Leti


Advanced Liquid Logic has inked a license and collaboration agreement with the Electronics and Information Technology Laboratory of France's Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, or CEA-Leti, in the area of digital microfluidic technology.

Under the terms of the agreement, announced earlier this month, ALL gains worldwide exclusive access to CEA-Leti's portfolio of patents related to digital microfluidics.

In addition, ALL has established a subsidiary company in Grenoble, France, to help manage the collaboration and address market opportunities in Europe, the company said. As part of this initiative, CEA-Leti researcher Cyril Delattre will join ALL to manage the French subsidiary.

"The CEA-Leti intellectual property is the last piece of the puzzle for Advanced Liquid Logic toward capturing a clearly dominant worldwide intellectual property position in electrowetting-based digital microfluidics," ALL CEO Richard West told PCR Insider in an e-mail.

West added that Leti "was one of the earliest labs using digital microfluidics for PCR and other applications, dating back to 2001 [and] 2002;" and that the laboratory's strong European patent position was especially attractive to ALL.

Based in Research Triangle Park, NC, ALL spun out of Duke University in 2004 to commercialize electrowetting digital microfluidics technology developed at the school. The technology manipulates discrete droplets electrically without the use of pumps or valves, and ALL has demonstrated its utility in immunoassays, PCR, clinical chemistry, and sample preparation, among other applications.

Last month, PCR Insider reported that the company was awarded a $150,000 Phase I SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a microfluidic PCR-based device for assuring DNA quality control in biobanks (PCR Insider, 8/17/11).

And earlier this month the company announced an exclusive co-development and supply agreement with NuGen to pair the digital microfluidics technology with NuGen's nucleic acid sample prep products for next-generation sequencing (PCR Insider, 9/1/11).

ALL said it now owns or controls more than 45 issued patents related to electrowetting-based digital microfluidics. It has previously licensed IP from Nanolytics and Core Microsolutions. In December, ALL and Duke were jointly awarded a US patent related to droplet-based nucleic acid amplification (PCR Insider, 12/14/2010).