San Diego Based Sequenom Acquires Pending Patents for $1.3 Million

Patent Legal AttorneySan Diego – Sequenom, a San Diego manufacturer of a variety of genetic tests, has acquired two pending patents from Helicos Biosciences Corp. The two companies reportedly entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement in which Sequenom purchased all rights, title and interest in Helicos’ pending patents for Methods for Detecting Fetal Nucleic Acids and Diagnosing Fetal Abnormalities.

Sequenom paid Helicos $1.3 million for the acquisition of the purchased assets.

Helicos president and CEO Ivan Trifunovich, explained that the technology behind the patents is for sequencing applications in prenatal molecular diagnostics. Helicos is not currently competing in that market, however Sequenom is a market leader. The purchase of the pending patents will help strengthen Sequenom’s foothold in arena for fetal abnormality testing.

“The Helicos patent estate continues to dominate several aspects of the next-generation sequencing field, and the company intends to continue vigorously defending its IP rights through licensing and patent enforcement strategies, including the ongoing lawsuit with Illumina, Life Technologies, and Pacific Biosciences,” Trifunovich said in a statement.

Proceeds from the sale of the Helicos’ pending patents will go towards funding its ongoing operations.

In recent years, Helicos has downsized its Cambridge, Massachusetts corporate office to under 7,000 square feet as of last September from 54,000 square feet the previous year. After failing to meet the minimum $50 million market value requirement, the company was taken off of the Nasdaq stock exchange in November 2010. Helicos has focused much of the blame for poor sales of its gene sequencing machines on the infringement of its patented technologies by competitors, leading to several legal battles.

Helicos reported a revenue loss of $1.2 million in 2011, from the previous year’s revenue of $4.4 million.

Sequenom, however, has had a recent run of success, with much of that attributed to its new Materni T21 laboratory blood test to detect the fetal abnormality Down Syndrome as early as ten weeks into gestation. For the first quarter of 2012, the company reported it had billed for approximately 5,000 Materni T21 tests, and has subsequently increased its year-end goal to 40,000 billed tests, up from its original forecast of 25,000 billed tests. The test is not yet FDA-approved and has an out-of-pocket cost of $235 for the patient.




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