Sequenom Inc announced an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with Optherion Inc. Under the agreement, Sequenom’s CAP accredited and CLIA-certified laboratory, Sequenom Center for Molecular Medicine (Sequenom CMM), obtained the rights to develop and commercialize diagnostic tests to predict genetic predisposition to late stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The license agreement covers extensive intellectual property rights for the most significant AMD-related genetic variants that have been confirmed in multiple clinical studies around the world. The portfolio of intellectual property being licensed has been consolidated from major US universities who have spearheaded genetic and clinical AMD research during the last decade.

Upon successful development of the test, Sequenom CMM intends to market a laboratory developed test under its SensiGene(TM) brand name for genetic tests. The laboratory anticipates launching the new test early in 2011.

"This opportunity is an excellent fit for Sequenom," said Ronald M. Lindsay, PhD, senior vice president of research and development at Sequenom. "The format of the assay that we plan to develop is optimal for our MassARRAY technology. Indeed, our platform has already been used in several of the key published studies that have firmly validated the link between AMD and the genetic variants that we expect to form the basis of our planned test. The addition of this licensed technology to our portfolio is an important step toward our aspiration to develop and commercialize a portfolio of meaningful proprietary genetic tests driven by unmet clinical needs."

Colin J. Foster, president and CEO of Optherion, said, "The licensing agreement with Sequenom adds significantly to our ability to push forward in developing both diagnostics and ultimately disease-modifying treatments for dry AMD. Our agreement with Sequenom not only gives us access to an exquisite platform, the MassARRAY system, but also could ultimately lead to companion diagnostics for our recombinant ‘protective’ human complement factor H protein therapeutic."

Source: Sequenom