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DNA Electronics Partners with Roche to Develop Semiconductor Based Sequencing System

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DNA Electronics has announced that it has entered a partnership with 454 Life Sciences, a Roche Company. The collaboration will focus on the development of a low-cost, high-throughput, long read, high density DNA sequencing system.

As part of the agreement, DNA Electronics has signed a non-exclusive licence to provide relevant IP from its proprietary semiconductor technology portfolio to Roche. This technology which enables detection of nucleotide incorporation during sequencing will build on 454 Life Sciences’ current pyrosequencing-based platform.

The collaboration leverages DNA Electronics’ knowledge of semiconductor design and expertise in pH-mediated detection of nucleotide insertions with 454 Life Sciences’ long read sequencing chemistry to produce an evolution from optical detection to low-cost, highly scalable electrochemical detection.

DNA Electronics’ technology utilizes completely electronic methods for semiconductor-based detection of DNA nucleotide incorporations via pH changes. The pH change is generated when two complementary nucleotides bind together and protons are released in the process which switches on an ion sensitive semiconductor field effect transistor (ISFET), allowing real-time DNA sequencing and analysis.

According to the Company, this electronic DNA detection technology overcomes the limitations of traditional optical detection technologies which depends on labels and has exacting manufacturing demands. DNA Electronics provides “Fabless” CMOS semiconductor core technology solutions which are label free and can be fabricated in any microchip foundry in the world and developed into multiple platforms.

The collaboration between DNA Electronics and 454 Life Sciences is a pivotal step to realizing the vision of routine human genome sequencing that can identify mutations and structural variations within hours.

“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,” said Professor Christopher Toumazou FRS, DNA Electronics Chairman and CEO. “We are delighted to embark on this collaboration with 454 Life Sciences, a pioneer in the field of high-throughput sequencing. We will complement our DNA on CMOS chip expertise with 454’s expertise in long-read chemistry and sequencing instrument design”

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.