News Feature | February 25, 2014

Roche Announces Licensing Agreement With Sysmex Inostics GmbH

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By Estel Grace Masangkay

Basel-based pharma firm Roche announced it has entered into a licensing agreement with Sysmex Inostics GmbH for its emulsion PCR (emPCR) portfolio of patents. The agreement grants Sysmex Inostics GmbH global, non-exclusive, royalty-bearing license to use Roche’s emPCR technology.

Roche Sequencing Unit Head Dan Zabrowski said, “Roche has an active out-licensing program for its emPCR-based intellectual property portfolio. By continuing to out-license this technology, we contribute to the development of well-validated techniques within the molecular diagnostics field.”

Emulsion PCR facilitates the individual isolation of each DNA molecule within its own bubble in a water or oil emulsion. The technology includes a capture bead and PCR amplification reagents. Through emPCR, each molecule is individually amplified to a single bead even as millions of molecules are simultaneously prepared. The ensuing process enables an equivalent of millions of separate PCR reactions. Roche’s technology allows for massive parallelization (high thoroughput) resulting in substantial cost advantages over rival technology Sanger sequencing.

Sysmex Inostics GmbH is a molecular diagnostics company which provides testing for highly sensitive mutation testing from plasma and serum samples. Sysmex Inostics’ clinical services lab offers analysis of free circulating tumor-DNA in plasma to predict drug response and monitor cancer through quantification of the amount of tumor DNA. This allows for detection of relapse and resistance mutations using emPCR technology. Sysmex Inostics’ customers are comprised of pharma companies and academic as well as medical centers who use the lab’s services in clinical trials with tissue collection challenges. The company currently uses BEAMing Digital PCR and Plasma- Sequencing (Plasma-Seq) in mutation discovery and detection. With the addition of Roche’s emPCR technology, the company expands its core competencies in molecular diagnostics.

The world’s largest biotech company, Roche operates in various fields including oncology, infectious diseases, neuroscience, inflammation, and metabolism. The company also leads research in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics with technologies such as emPCR.

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