U.S. Markets open in 8 hrs 20 mins

Sequenom to cut jobs; seeks liquid biopsy test partners

(Adds details, background)

Jan 7 (Reuters) - Genetic testing company Sequenom Inc said on Thursday it will cut 110 jobs, or about 20 percent of its workforce, and will seek partners to commercialize its liquid biopsy test.

Sequenom, whose bid to restore a prenatal DNA test patent was rejected by a U.S. court last month, raised expected cost savings to more than $20 million annually from over $10 million estimated earlier.

The company also said it intends to sell its operations in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Sequenom said a commercial partner for the oncology liquid biopsy would help cut research spending in the rapidly developing area.

"Liquid biopsy" uses gene-sequencing technology to screen blood samples for trace amounts of DNA associated with different cancers.

The U.S. appeals court had said in June the prenatal DNA test patent was not eligible for legal protection because it fell under the U.S. Supreme Court's rule against patenting natural phenomena.

The decision was being closely watched by the biotech industry, which could put in doubt the validity of a wide range of medical and biotechnology patents.

The San Diego-based company's shares closed down 2.1 percent at $1.41 on Thursday.

(Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)