Nucleic Acid Amplification: Company Announcements

Idaho Technology exclusively licensed from the University of Utah Research Foundation the patent for “Monitoring Amplification with FRET Probes,” covering real-time PCR amplification kits. In February, QIAGEN NV broadened its portfolio of licenses to include all of Roche’s real-time PCR patents. The company also licensed patents related to Ortho Clinical Diagnostics’ “Hot-Start” technology. Sales for Roche’s Applied Sciences business increased 12% in 2006 to CHF 632 million ($505.6 million) to make up 7% of Roche Diagnostics’ revenues. NuGEN Technologies named ExonHit Therapeutics SA an authorized service provider. Cepheid’s 2006 revenues rose 3% to $87.4 million (see IBO 4/15/07). Instrument sales fell 20% to $22.7 million, and revenue from reagents and disposables grew 14% to $59.7 million. Biothreat, clinical molecular diagnostics and industrial applications represented 58%, 24% and 18% of sales, respectively. The company forecasts 2007 revenues of $112–$120 million. In April, Cepheid announced that VWR would distribute its Industrial life science products in the US. In March, the US Board of Patents and Interferences entered judgment in favor of Enzo Biochem’s patent application for nucleic acid signal amplification over two patents owned by Princeton University. Under a strategic collaboration, Applied Biosystems will manufacture and commercialize molecular avian influenza and Newcastle disease environmental detection kits based on real-time PCR assays developed by the UK’s Veterinary Laboratories Agency. Applied Biosystems will develop the assays in a new dry format that will consolidate steps in the testing process. Applied Biosystems has an installed base of over 1,400 real-time PCR platforms in public health labs.

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