A Medical Device Daily

Illumina (San Diego) and Oxford Nanopore Technologies (Oxford, UK) reported a strategic alliance including a commercialization agreement and equity investment.

Under the terms of the commercialization agreement, Illumina will exclusively market, sell, distribute and service BASE Technology products developed by Oxford Nanopore for DNA sequencing into the research and diagnostic markets on a worldwide basis. Illumina and Oxford Nanopore will share profits generated from sales.

Oxford Nanopore's new-generation sequencing system uses protein nanopores coupled with a processive enzyme. This system is designed for direct electrical identification of DNA bases at the single-molecule level, without the need for fluorescent labels.

Currently in development, this technology has the potential to provide substantial advantages over current sequencing approaches, not only in speed and cost but also in simplicity and versatility of overall workflow. The removal of the traditional fluorescent labeling step and reduced burden of sample preparation are highly desirable in future generations of sequencing technology.

As part of the agreement, Illumina made an equity investment of $18 million (£11.8 million), which will be used to accelerate the development of the BASE Technology. Illumina has also agreed to make an additional equity investment upon the achievement of a specific technical milestone.

"Oxford Nanopore's technology holds tremendous promise to achieve the sub-$1,000 human genome," said Jay Flatley, president/CEO of Illumina. "Making electrical measurements of unmodified DNA removes the need for complex sample prep and the high-performance optics found in today's sequencing systems. We look forward to a long and productive partnership with Oxford Nanopore."

Oxford Nanopore's CEO, Gordon Sanghera said, "This alliance brings together today's commercial leader in the field and what we believe will be the future's best sequencing technology. The agreement reflects the rapid progress we have made in developing nanopore technology towards being the first label-free, single-molecule sequencing system. The partnership will enable us to further accelerate our development and enable broad commercialization through Illumina's significant commercial infrastructure."

In other agreements/contracts news:

• University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC; Oak Brook, Illinois) has awarded a contract to AeroScout (Redwood City, California), a provider of Wi-Fi Active RFID healthcare solutions for improving hospital efficiency, regulatory compliance, patient care and safety.

AeroScout's widely used healthcare solutions were chosen from among many vendors following a competitive process and analysis. AeroScout is one of two suppliers awarded by UHC for Asset Tracking Systems and Equipment.

UHC is an alliance of 103 academic medical centers and 191 of their affiliated hospitals.

Under the three-year agreement, AeroScout will offer UHC's members in the U.S. a broad range of solutions for asset management, equipment maintenance, condition monitoring, patient and staff safety, and workflow and resource management .

• Spaulding Clinical (West Bend, Wisconsin) and OBS Medical (Carmel, Indiana) reported that they have entered into a strategic relationship to promote an integrated suite of technologies and services for improving cardiac safety.

The non-exclusive partnership between OBS Medical and Spaulding Clinical will provide comprehensive cardiac safety services including patient recruitment, ECG/Holter data collection, in-depth cardiac safety analysis (high-throughput with cardiologist involvement), and expert cardiologist interpretation and summary.

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