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Link Technologies Ltd Secures Exclusive License For Ultra Sensitive Diagnostic Probes From University of Manchester

11/30/2009 3:32:46 PM

BELLSHILL, SCOTLAND, 30 November 2009: The ISO 9001:2000 certified specialist oligonucleotide reagent manufacturer, Link Technologies Ltd, has today announced an exclusive license deal with The University of Manchester Intellectual Property Limited (UMIP). Under the terms of the license for the University’s “exciplex” technology, Link will manufacture and sell highly sensitive exciplex-based diagnostic reagents worldwide. Exciplex technology offers ultra-biospecificity and significantly increased detection sensitivity over conventional systems due to negligible background signal. This license marks the start of a forward collaboration between Link and the University to develop the existing technology.

Honorary Professor Ken Douglas and Dr Elena Bichenkova, a Senior Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Manchester, have developed new exciplex diagnostic probes based on labelling oligonucleotides with exciplex partners that form excited-state complexes in close spatial proximity. Application of these modified oligonucleotides in diagnostic systems has been shown to discriminate DNA mutations at the level of PCR products and plasmid DNA. Professor Douglas commented: “This is a very exciting opportunity to bring together a University discovery base and this excellent company. The exciplex is a significant new area of science and we are pleased to have the expertise of Link Technologies to take this forward commercially for clinical benefit”.

Dr John Bremner, Business Development Director at Link Technologies, concurred: “We are delighted with this deal, which we firmly believe is the start of something truly exciting. Our ongoing collaboration with the University over the coming months will optimise the technology, allowing Link to launch a new range of innovative products targeted at diagnostic companies worldwide.”

Patents for this technology, covering all major market areas, are held by the University of Manchester and licensed to Link. Link Technologies has also secured the rights to any intellectual property arising from the collaboration with the University. No financial details of the agreement have been disclosed.

About Link Technologies Ltd

Link Technologies is a leading ISO 9001:2000 certified manufacturer of reagents for oligonucleotide synthesis and modification (DNA, RNA, PNA and UNA). The company has a diverse product range that includes phosphoramidites, solid supports, modifiers, labels, bioconjugation, and oligo-immobilisation products. Link also works collaboratively with other companies providing specialist chemistry expertise and developing new products in areas such as diagnostics and microarrays. For further information see:

About UMIP

The University of Manchester Intellectual Property Limited (UMIP) is the managing agent of The University of Manchester for intellectual property commercialisation. UMIP's role is to enhance the reputation of the University's intellectual property development through successful spin-out and licensing business activities.

Since its inception in October 2004, UMIP has set up sixteen spin-out companies, concluded over 80 licence deals and raised more than £130 million in investment capital. It currently has over 100 projects in its portfolio at various stages of development. A number of the spin-out companies have received national and regional enterprise awards. UMIP is wholly owned by The University of Manchester and has over a 20 year history of IP commercialisation and is a limited company of over 35 employees.

For more information see:

About the Exciplex Technology

Detection of DNA by fluorescent labels is now in very widespread use in many areas. One of the challenges of fluorescent systems is to reduce the background fluorescent signal to improve the signal-to-noise of the assay. This technology uses the formation of exciplexes to address this problem. Exciplexes are formed when an aromatic exciplex partner is excited by light. If there is another exciplex partner very close by then an excited-state complex (an exciplex) is formed which emits light as fluorescence at a characteristic longer wavelength. The formation of this excited-state complex is very highly distance dependant so that no fluorescence at all can be monitored at detection wavelength unless the strict geometric constraint is obeyed, thus giving an inherent bio-specificity. This same distance dependence makes probes based on this technology very sensitive to mismatches meaning that these probes are ideally suited to SNP detection. The distance dependence is over a much shorter distance than FRET, thus making the exciplex probe technology potentially more bio-specific (and thus more reliable) than other fluorescent technologies.

As the isolated parts of the exciplex detector have no inherent signal at the detection wavelength, this approach has no background signal and thus benefit from excellent signal-to-noise ratio.

In addition, the fluorescence colour of the exciplex system assembled by bio-target (green fluorescence) is visibly different to that of the individual components (blue fluorescence), which offers the opportunity for direct visualization approaches.

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