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Nanogen awarded United States patent on method for detecting nucleic acid hybridization by means of fluorescent energy transfer.

Nanogen, Inc. (San Diego, CA; 858-410-4600) was awarded an additional United StatesPatent relating to its electronic microarray technology. United States Patent 6,162,603, entitled "Hybridization of Polynucleotides Conjugated with Chromophores and Fluorophores to Generate Donor-To-Donor Energy Transfer System" (the "'603 Patent "), is the twentieth United States patent issued to the company.

"The '603 Patent is a significant addition to Nanogen's intellectual property portfolio because it teaches a novel method of transferring photonic energy within synthetic nucleic acid sequences," commented Michael J. Heller, PhD, chief technology officer at Nanogen. "The invention consists of precisely designed nucleic acid sequences modified with a number of energy 'absorbers' and energy 'transmitters' that are capable of transferring light energy over distances greater than previously possible in synthetic systems. By the careful selection and design of unique nucleic acid sequences, linker arms, and 'absorber/transmitter' chemical structures, a light 'antenna' or photonic conductor can be constructed. This in turn permits the design of uniquely sensitive and specific nucleic acid hybridization tests. This novel technology in the future can be incorporated into the NanoChip Molecular Biology Workstation or can be used in a wide variety of nucleic acid hybridization assay formats."

Nanogen also announced that Harry J. Leonhardt, Nanogen's senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, recently resigned his position with the company. Mr. Leonhardt will remain as consultant to Nanogen on a variety of subjects. Vera P. Pardee, has been appointed vice president, assistant general counsel and secretary. Ms. Pardee, who has over 17 years of litigation experience, was a shareholder at the law firm of Seltzer Caplan Vitek McMahon (San Diego, CA) from January 1994 to July 2000, an associate at that firm from 1988 through 1993, and an associate at the office of O'Melveny & Myers (Los Angeles, CA) from 1983 through 1986.

"Since August 2000, Vera has been leading our legal department's efforts to assist in the company's commercial expansion, maintain the growth of our intellectual property portfolio and manage the company's litigation matters, including that against Motorola, Inc. and Combimatrix," said Howard C. Birndorf, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Nanogen. "She has been a valuable asset to Nanogen during this period, and we have welcomed her experience, talents and contributions to the Nanogen team."

Mr. Birndorf continued, "I would like to thank Harry for the leadership and other contributions he has made to our Legal Department and to Nanogen over the last five years. Harry played a key role in the development of Nanogen from a private research and development company to a publicly traded commercial company with the recent launch of our first product, the NanoChip Molecular Biology Workstation. He helped negotiate and close numerous licensing transactions and corporate collaborations, played an integral role in the company's successful financing efforts and oversaw the expansion of the company's intellectual property portfolio. We wish Harry well in his future endeavors and value his continuing contributions to Nanogen on a consulting basis."

Mr. Leonhardt commented, "When I joined Nanogen in 1996, the company was in its development phase. I have enjoyed being a part of the team that took the company through its private financing rounds and initial and secondary public offerings. I also very much enjoyed my interactions with our employees and corporate partners over the years and want to thank them for their valuable contributions to the company during this exciting period. Nanogen has made substantial progress over the last five years, and I am pleased to have played a role in its growth and development. I look forward to continuing my association with the company as a consultant."

Nanogen recently began marketing its NanoChip Molecular Biology Workstation system to scientists and genomics laboratories, setting new standards for SNP scoring. Nanogen is developing a series of electronics-based products to help researchers and clinical healthcare providers accelerate their practical understanding and use of genomic information. The products introduced and under development are intended to provide quick and accurate analysis of DNA, RNA and proteins, "bridging" both the research and clinical diagnostic settings. The Nanogen system is intended for research use only and not for use in diagnostic procedures.
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Comment:Nanogen awarded United States patent on method for detecting nucleic acid hybridization by means of fluorescent energy transfer.
Publication:BIOTECH Patent News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2000
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