OXFORD, U.K.—OxfordGene Technology continues to grow the market for microarrays through its broadlicensing of key microarray patents. In its latest move, the company andNimbleGen Systems have agreed to a transfer of technology that providesNimbleGen with a license to OGT's fundamental patents covering oligonucleotidearrays, and OGT access to NimbleGen's DNA microarrays for use in OGT's servicebusiness. NimbleGen will also be licensed to sell OGT's arrays.
"We chose to partner with NimbleGen due to their ability tomake high quality, high-density arrays through in situ technology," say SueSutton, OGT's VP, licensing North America. OGT believesthat in situ methods of array fabrication have several advantages over othermethods, including the ability to rapidly design and fabricate custom arrays,and generation of high density arrays without the up-front costs ofoligonucleotide purchase.
Dr. Stan Rose, NimbleGen president and CEO adds that theagreement "provides NimbleGen with access to important property rights, as wellas an exciting new commercial relationship that should benefit both companies."
OGT estimates the current global market for microarrays, relatedinstruments and software is about $800 million per year, with microarraysaccounting for about 65 percent of the total. The company anticipates doubledigit growth over the next few years.
"Our recent North American license deals include agreements withmajor life science companies such as Agilent, Illumina and Invitrogen," Suttonnotes. "We expect the recent supply deals with Agilent and NimbleGen to beparticularly important for our microarray servicesand products business. OGT is now able to provide a broader-based service,advising our customers on the best microarray platform to choose for theirapplication.
Our relationship with Agilent also includes the manufactureby Agilent of 'OEM' arrays designed by OGT that we will then sell to our customers."
OGT expects collaborative agreements to become a moreimportant part of its business in the future. "OGT will focus on what it doesbest," CEO Mike Evans emphasizes, "array design and supply for our customersand development of novel array formats. As examples, our current developmentprojects include multi-sample arrays for cost-effective biomarker validationand clinical diagnostics, and analysis of gene expression at the single celllevel."
DNA microarrays can be used for many purposes, including comparisonsof gene expression between different individuals – for example, a cancer sampleand a control sample – that can lead to the identification of disease targetsin pharmaceutical discovery programs. "Array-based comparative genome hybridization (CGH)can provide much more fine detail about genetic lesions than other methods suchas karyotyping," Dr. Evans observes. "Other approaches using single nucleotidepolymorphisms (SNPs) or copy number variants (CNVs) as genetic markers to trackthe inheritance of disease-causing genes through populations are increasinglybeing used in drug target discovery as well as in profiling clinical trialspopulations in the drug development phase."