Venlo , The Netherlands and Foster City , CA – – QIAGEN N.V.Frankfurt , Prime Standard: QIA) and Applied Biosystems Group an Applera Corporation business announced that they have entered into a license agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, Applied Biosystems has granted a license to QIAGEN under the expanded Applied Biosystems PCR (polymerase chain reaction) licensing program. The expanded program includes patents for real-time PCR and other important PCR-related technologies not licensed under the previous PCR licensing program. Financial terms of the license were not disclosed.
“Real-time PCR is a key technology in the rapidly growing life science research markets. With this additional license covering the usage of real-time PCR, QIAGEN is very well positioned as a leading manufacturer and supplier of high quality PCR reagents and kits in this field,” said Peer M. Schatz, QIAGEN’s CEO. “The license agreement with Applied Biosystems enhances QIAGEN’s value as a leading supplier of a broad range of real-time PCR technologies which are optimized for use with our market and technology leading preanalytical solutions.”
“QIAGEN is another major licensee under the expanded program, which was initiated in June,” said Catherine M. Burzik, President of Applied Biosystems. “ Interest in our expanded PCR licensing program further demonstrates the value of our intellectual property for this fundamental technology in research and applied testing markets.”
The Applied Biosystems expanded PCR licensing program includes licenses to the foundational patents as well as the two leading real-time PCR techniques known as the TaqMan® assay and the Dye-Intercalation Assay method. It also includes patents covering an improved form of the Taq polymerase enzyme (AmpliTaq Gold® technology) used to initiate PCR and referred to as Hot-Start. The expanded program follows an agreement signed in May 2005 between Applera and Hoffmann-La Roche for Applied Biosystems to be the sole licensor of Roche patents covering reagents and methods for practicing PCR and real-time PCR in the life science research and applied fields.
Although the foundational patents covering the PCR process expired in the United States in March 2005 and will expire elsewhere in March 2006, numerous other patents related to PCR remain in force. These surviving patents cover, for example, enzyme compositions, kits, and methods such as reverse transcription and DNA sequencing. Applied Biosystems will continue to offer licenses to these patents.
PCR, an enabling technology for life science and other research, is a process in which a segment of a nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) is copied or “amplified” so that the nucleic acid can be more readily analyzed. In real-time PCR, the amplified DNA is detected during, rather than at the end of, the PCR process, a feature that facilitates greater accuracy in important applications, including gene expression quantitation and genotyping.