Sequenom Inc. Secures Rights To Key Non-Invasive Prenatal Diagnostic Intellectual Property

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- SEQUENOM, Inc. has acquired exclusive rights in certain countries including the United States, United Kingdom and other countries in Europe and elsewhere, to non-invasive prenatal diagnostic intellectual property from Isis Innovation Ltd., the technology transfer company of the University of Oxford, it was announced today. The intellectual property covers non-invasive prenatal genetic diagnostic testing on fetal nucleic acids derived from plasma or serum, which includes tests such as cystic fibrosis, hemoglobinopathies (sickle cell anemia and the thalassemias), and chromosomal aneuploidies (e.g. Down Syndrome), on any platform including mass spectrometry and real time polymerase chain reaction amplification platforms. Financial terms include up-front fees, milestone payments and royalties on product sales.

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"The licensed rights enable the development and performance of tests on any relevant platform, including the MassARRAY(R) system which is highly enabling for certain prenatal tests such as Rhesus D (RhD)," said Harry Stylli, MBA, Ph.D., SEQUENOM's President and Chief Executive Officer. "SEQUENOM has designed a comprehensive RhD test for its MassARRAY system. There are 20,000 high risk RhD births out of about 420,000 RhD incompatible pregnancies in the US annually. In addition, SEQUENOM is establishing the advanced pre-analytics necessary to conduct the more technically challenging tests needed for aneuploidies and others. In molecular diagnostics, our focus is prenatal diagnostics and other applications where complex, trace nucleic acid analysis will prove critical primarily in women's health. The MassARRAY platform has demonstrated utility for a wide range of nucleic acid tests and is not limited to prenatal testing."

"SEQUENOM's opportunity in molecular diagnostics builds on our core technology for the genetic analysis research market and is greatly strengthened by the broad intellectual property we have exclusively licensed," continued Stylli. "There is considerable unmet need for new approaches that enable non-invasive and reliable prenatal diagnostic testing for expectant mothers. SEQUENOM has an opportunity to develop a portfolio of non-invasive prenatal nucleic acid based tests beginning with fetal DNA that will complement the current suite of invasive tests and potentially provide more fundamental and reliable diagnostic information earlier in the pregnancy."

The licensed patent rights were first developed at the University of Oxford in 1997 by Professor Dennis Lo (presently at the Chinese University of Hong Kong) and Professor James Wainscoat (at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford). Professor Lo, a renowned researcher in the study of non-invasive prenatal genetic analysis, is presently collaborating with SEQUENOM on related matters.

About Rhesus D or RhD Incompatibility

RhD incompatibility is present when an expecting mother has RhD negative blood, but the unborn child has RhD positive blood. The mother's blood can develop antibodies that attach to the baby's blood cells, which can result in serious injury to the child. Each year there are 420,000 women with RhD negative blood that give birth, 20,000 of which are high risk and may require blood transfusions to the infant. Certain expecting mothers with RhD negative blood may submit to a set of invasive tests to determine the blood type of the fetus, which may include penetrating the mother's womb with a large needle to extract amniotic fluid or chorionic villus sample (amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling ), which can increase risk of miscarriage.

About Isis Innovation Ltd.

Isis Innovation Ltd. is the technology transfer company of the University of Oxford, commercializing the research generated by University researchers and owned by the University. Isis was established in 1988 and in 1997 started a major expansion phase; Isis is a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Oxford. The University assigns its intellectual property to Isis (where there are no pre-existing exploitation arrangements) and Isis then evaluates, protects and markets the intellectual property.


SEQUENOM is committed to providing the best genetic analysis products that translate genomic science into superior solutions for biomedical research, molecular medicine and agricultural applications. The Company's proprietary MassARRAY system is a high-performance DNA analysis platform that efficiently and precisely measures the amount of genetic target material and variations therein. The system is able to deliver reliable and specific data from complex biological samples and from genetic target material that is only available in trace amounts. For more information, please visit our website at

SEQUENOM(R) and MassARRAY(R) are registered trademarks of SEQUENOM, Inc.

Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this press release, including statements concerning SEQUENOM's opportunities in molecular diagnostics, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially, including the risks and uncertainties associated with the development and commercialization of any new technology, product or application, including but not limited to molecular and prenatal diagnostic testing technologies, the risks and uncertainties associated with the scope and validity of intellectual property protection and patent rights, and other risks detailed from time to time in SEQUENOM's SEC filings, including SEQUENOM's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2004, and its most recently filed quarterly report on Form 10-Q. These forward-looking statements are based on current information that is likely to change and speak only as of the date hereof.

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CONTACT: Amy Caterina, Investor Relations of SEQUENOM, Inc.,+1-858-202-9033,

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