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Agilent Buys PCR Detection Tech from Eurofins MWG Operon

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Agilent Technologies said today that it has purchased MassCode Tag technology for an undisclosed amount from Eurofins MWG Operon, a division of the Eurofins Group.

The purchase includes the MassCode trademarks and intellectual property, including four families of patents covering different aspects of the technology in 34 countries, including the US, UK, Japan, and China, Agilent said.

Agilent said it will combine the MassCode Tag technology with its strengths in PCR and mass spectroscopy to develop new research products for pathogen identification.

Eurofins MWG Operon will continue to supply the core component for the new products, Agilent said.

MassCode Tags are small molecules with unique molecular weights that can be attached to DNA primers that correspond to microbial sequences. The primers are then used to amplify nucleic acid isolated from biological samples using PCR. The tags are released by applying UV radiation, and corresponding tags are identified with mass spec.

Agilent said that the technique is highly multiplexed, faster, and more sensitive than traditional PCR detection technologies.

Researchers at the Center for Infection and Immunity in the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University developed methods for designing MassTag primers for use in pathogen identification, and Columbia holds corresponding IP rights.

In August, Columbia licensed the MassTag PCR technology to Indian contract research and testing laboratory Vimta Labs, which is using the technology to develop clinical diagnostic products for various infectious diseases in Indian patients.

It is unclear whether Eurofins MWG Operon holds a license to the Columbia technology. However, according to an Agilent spokesperson, the company does not require approval from Columbia for its planned applications of the technology.