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Life Tech Drops Challenge to Proteome Sciences European Patent for TMT Technology

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Proteome Sciences today announced that the Life Technologies has withdrawn its opposition to a European patent covering its isobaric mass tag technology.

As a result, the European Patent Office will not pursue the matter.

The opposition to the patent was originally filed by Applera, the former parent firm of ABI, now a division of Life Tech. The withdrawal follows a licensing agreement reached last month between Thermo Fisher Scientific's Pierce Biotechnology and Life Tech, whose iTRAQ technology is based on the TMT technology, Proteome Sciences has said.

Proteome Sciences received its European patent in late 2007, and the following April granted Pierce Biotech exclusive worldwide rights to sell the TMT reagents.

The patent provides broad coverage over isobaric mass tagging. In March 2008, Applera challenged the patent and asked the EPO to revoke the patent in its entirety. In its opposition documents, Applera said that the technology covered by the patent lacked novelty, did not involve any new inventive procedures, and did not "disclose the invention in a manner sufficiently clear and complete for it to be carried out" by a knowledgeable person [See PM 03/27/2008].

The patent now will maintain the form in which it was issued. In a statement, Ian Pike, chief business officer for Proteome Sciences, said that with the resolution of the issue it will now work with Pierce Biotech to "maximize the commercial potential for isobaric mass tags across life sciences."

Proteome Sciences retains the rights to use TMT in its own research and to support its biomarker services business in both discovery and rapid assay development using TMTcalibrator and TMT-SRM.

This week the company said that Takeda Pharmaceuticals will be using the biomarker services for a pre-clinical study.

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