Ariosa Diagnostics is on the receiving end of another patent infringement suit for its Harmony prenatal test. Stanford University, the holder of the patent in question, and Verinata Health, the exclusive licensee of said patent and the developer of the verifi (TM) prenatal test, have filed suit against both Ariosa and LabCorp.
Readers will recall it was announced in May 2012 that LabCorp partnered with Ariosa in order to distribute Harmony.
This is the second patent infringement suit with which Ariosa must contend over Harmony. Sequenom, Inc. filed suit in January 2012, alleging Ariosa infringed on a separate patent held by Sequenom. Sequenom filed a motion for an injunction that would have prevented Ariosa from marketing/selling Harmony until after the suit was over, but the motion was denied in early July.
It should be noted Verinata and Stanford University also sued Sequenom in February 2012, alleging patent infringement as well.
Obviously this realm of molecular genetics is hotly contested. All three companies have commercially available tests which allow women to study targeted genetic material in their unborn children by simple phlebotomy as opposed to having to endure an amniocentesis.
The tests all isolate fragments of fetal DNA in the mother’s circulation, which are then tested for anomalies. verifi detects Trisomy 21, Trisomy 18, Trisomy 13 and Turner Syndrome and Harmony and MaterniT21 (Sequenom’s test) both detect Trisomies 21, 18 and 13.
The ease of sample procurement alone will lead to very large revenues, I’m sure. At least one source claims the market is already in the multi-billion range.
John Stuelpnagel has been Executive Chairman of Ariosa Diagnostics since 2009. Prior to Ariosa, John co-founded Illumina, Inc. and was instrumental in making Illumina one of the most successful life science companies. During his 12 years at Illumina, John served as the company’s first CEO and most recently served as COO. Prior to Illumina, John was a venture capitalist at CW Group. John received his B.S. in Biochemistry and his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of California, Davis and his M.B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles.