A license to amplify

Sigma-aldrich secures whole transcriptome amplification technology from Rubicon Genomics

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ST. LOUIS, Mo.—Sigma-Aldrich,a leading life sciences company whose products are used in such areas asgenomic research, biotechnology and pharmaceutical development, recentlyannounced an exclusive licensing agreement with Ann Arbor, Mich.-based RubiconGenomics to further develop and commercialize that company's TransPlex whole transcriptomeamplification technology.
Under the terms of the agreement, Rubicon retains all rightsto TransPlex for molecular diagnostics. No specific financial details werereleased.
This isn't the first time the companies have come together,though. In late 2004, Rubicon entered into a licensing agreement that grantedSigma-Aldrich exclusive worldwide rights to its GenomePlex whole genomeamplification technology for the production and sale of kits to the researchmarket. As with the current deal, Rubicon retained rights to the technology formolecular diagnostics, which is its core market. Since releasing TransPlex inlate 2005, Rubicon had been seeking a partner for the sale of TransPlex to theresearch market.
"Rubicon is very pleased that Sigma-Aldrich will bemarketing TransPlex kits to complement the very successful GenomePlex whole genomeamplification kits," says John Langmore, vice president of commercialdevelopment at Rubicon. "We have confidence that their customers will embraceTransPlex for biological research and development of diagnostic products."
"Sigma-Aldrich is committed to bringing best-in-class-technologies to the genomic research community, and [TransPlex] is clearly inthat category," adds Keith Jolliff, director of marketing for genomics andfunctional genomics at Sigma-Aldrich.
TransPlex kits convert total RNA into in vitro cDNAlibraries of short, overlapping amplimers that faithfully represent the entiretranscriptome of any animal, plant or microorganism, according to Langmore.These molecular libraries are amplified by universal-primer PCR, which reportedlyhas the advantage of both exponential amplification kinetics and linear productrepresentation. TransPlex shows little gene-bias or exon-bias fortranscripts up to 10 kb in length, Rubicon reports, even after extensive RNAdegradation, and Langmore further notes that the technology allows RNA samplesto be amplified 1,000-fold to 10,000-fold in less than four hours, adding thatthe technology works well even when the RNA is partially degraded, as can bethe case with formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue.

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