Fluidigm Corporation has announced that it can now offer unrestricted sales of its digital PCR and other advanced technology to customers interested in pursuing research and product development into the prenatal health and non-invasive prenatal diagnostics fields, as well as other fields.
This enhanced freedom to operate comes as a result of the ending of the collaboration agreement previously reported in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission between Fluidigm and Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics, Inc.
Under the collaboration agreement, Fluidigm granted an exclusive option to its technology in specific areas of prenatal health and diagnostics, and Fluidigm could not sell its products or services in these fields, other than in some cases for research applications.
This option has expired unexercised. Also, while the details of the collaboration remain confidential, Fluidigm can confirm that it successfully achieved all of its technical feasibility milestones in the first phase of the collaboration and, accordingly, received all milestone payments.
The re-opening of previously restricted fields of use for Fluidigm products and access to significant product enhancements represent exciting opportunities for Fluidigm's customer base.
A number of Fluidigm's customers had expressed concerns over their ability to freely operate in the fields of prenatal health and non-invasive prenatal diagnostics in view of the collaboration agreement.
Some potential customers chose to pursue alternative options because of this uncertainty.
"With the termination of this agreement, highly valuable intellectual property rights in non-invasive prenatal diagnostics and digital PCR, which had been exclusively optioned under the agreement, now revert back to Fluidigm. We are open for business without restriction in all fields," said Gajus Worthington, Fluidigm President and Chief Executive Officer.
Fluidigm can now fully pursue all market opportunities with customers interested in researching and developing products in all fields, including prenatal health and non-invasive prenatal diagnostics.
"We appreciate that there are significant market opportunities in these areas and there is substantial customer interest. We look forward to helping these customers achieve their research and development objectives," Worthington added.
With the termination of the collaboration, Fluidigm's customers may experience other, more direct benefits.
Chief among them is unrestricted access to the company's prototype 200,000-chambered digital PCR chip with associated instrumentation and software developed under several on-going collaborative efforts.
The company can now commercialize this much higher density chip, for which it has experimentally demonstrated both very high sensitivity and reproducibility.