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Eiken Licenses LAMP Amplification Method to UK's OptiGene, Veterinary Lab Agency


Japan's Eiken Chemical has licensed its loop-mediated isothermal amplification, or LAMP, technology, to a pair of UK-based organizations.

First, OptiGene said today that it has licensed the LAMP method from Eiken, thus allowing it to develop, manufacture, and sell nucleic acid amplification reagents based on LAMP for research use.

And earlier this week, Eiken said that it has licensed LAMP to the UK's Veterinary Laboratories Agency for use in veterinary testing and environmental monitoring.

OptiGene, based in Horsham, UK, said in December that it is collaborating with UK firm LGC and the University of Southampton to developing an ultra-rapid molecular testing platform based on isothermal amplification to diagnose sexually transmitted diseases (PCR Insider, 12/16/10).

The platform, called Genie II, has been optimized to work with the LAMP method, can be adapted to several types of chemistries requiring temperature control up to 100°C, and is compatible with fluorescence or luminescence optical detection, according to the company.

Further, OptiGene said that Genie II is portable and can operate from an internal battery or an external power source, making it suitable for point-of-care applications.

By combining Genie II with the LAMP method and OptiGene's proprietary reagents, time to result for a molecular test can be as low as ten minutes; and the platform provides "a genuine alternative" to PCR testing, OptiGene said.

"Other techniques can be used to identify certain pathogens in the field, but identification at the species level requires a nucleic acid-based approach," Duncan Clark, director of OptiGene, said in a statement. "The Genie II instrument, along with our reagents, satisfies the need for a practical and viable detection method."

Under the agreement announced earlier this week, the VLA, an executive agency of the UK's Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, has licensed the LAMP method to enable it to develop, manufacture, and provide testing for nucleic acid diagnostics in veterinary medicine and environmental monitoring.

VLA is committed to providing research, surveillance, and laboratory services for animal and public health in the UK.

Additional details of the licensing agreements were not disclosed.

Eiken has licensed the LAMP technology to a number of companies and organizations that are incorporating the method in a variety of diagnostic and testing applications.

These companies include molecular diagnostics firm DiaSorin, which is using the technology in infectious disease nucleic acid testing kits; 3M, which is also incorporating LAMP into nucleic acid test kits; Toshiba, which is using the technology for biodefense applications; and Meridian Biosciences, which uses the method in its FDA-cleared and CE Marked Illumigene C. difficile assay (PCR Insider, 7/22/10).