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Roche, DNA Electronics Partner on Semiconductor-based Sequencing

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Roche today announced that it its 454 Life Sciences subsidiary has entered into an exclusive partnership with DNA Electronics to develop a semiconductor-based DNA sequencing system that would offer low-cost and high-throughput.

Roche said that it has licensed non-exclusive rights to relevant intellectual property from London-based DNA Electronics covering detection of nucleotide incorporation during sequencing. The partnership would combine Roche 454's long-read chemistry with DNA Electronics' knowledge of semiconductor design and expertise in pH-mediated detection of nucleotide insertions.

DNA Electronics' technology detects DNA nucleotide incorporations via pH changes, which are generated when two complementary nucleotides bind together and protons are released in the process, switching on an ion sensitive semiconductor field effect transistor (ISFET). This allows real-time DNA sequencing and analysis, said DNA Electronics in a separate statement.

The firm believes its ISFET technology overcomes the limitations of traditional optical detection technologies that depend on labels.

"We have always believed that the marriage between mature standard CMOS semiconductor technology, ubiquitous in the consumer electronics world, and the molecular life science industry will eventually transform research machines into affordable diagnostics tools," DNA Electronics Chairman and CEO Christopher Toumazou said.

Financial and other terms of the alliance were not disclosed.

The partnership builds on Roche's current sequencing offerings from 454 Life Sciences as well as a collaboration announced this past summer with IBM, under which the firms intend to co-develop nanopore-based sequencing system.