Abbott Laboratories entered into separate agreements with Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. and The Perkin-Elmer Corp. concerning patents toamplification technologies, the companies announced Monday.Abbott, of Abbott Park, Ill., and Roche of Nutley, N.J., signed acomprehensive, worldwide agreement in which each company grantedthe other licenses to patents in the field of diagnostic applications ofgene amplification technologies. The agreement between Abbott andPerkin-Elmer of Norwalk, Conn., covers the exchange of nucleic acidamplification patent rights.In another agreement, Perkin-Elmer will supply customized DNAamplification systems to Abbott for an undisclosed price.In the Roche deal, Abbott can operate under Roche's geneamplification patents, including those covering polymerase chainreaction (PCR) technology, and Roche can operate under Abbott patentrights, including those covering ligase chain reaction (LCR) and repairchain reaction (RCR) technologies.Abbott and Roche said the agreement will help lead to earlieravailability of diagnostic products, which will complement or competewith diagnostic products using conventional detection techniques andother gene amplification products.Under the agreement, Abbott has a worldwide royalty-bearing licenseto make, use and sell gene amplification in the in vitro humandiagnostics field, Christine Aylward, senior associate, public policy andcommunications for Roche, told BioWorld. Further terms were notrevealed."One of Roche's overall goals is to make sure gene amplificationtechnology is available, and the public can benefit from it," Aylwardsaid. "Our license to Abbott furthers that goal."Both companies will continue their independent research, developmentand marketing of gene amplification products and systems.Matt Kuhn, a spokesman for the Diagnostics Division of Abbott, toldBioWorld the relationships broaden the company's technology baseand complement the work it already has completed in the field of LCR."Our hope is to quickly move these technologies into the medicalcommunity," Kuhn said.For Perkin-Elmer, "The agreement helps us to have access tocomplementary amplification technologies to accompany our alreadywell-established position in PCR," said Carol Blaszczynski, thecompany's director of public relations. "We also are going to have theopportunity to provide (Abbott) the tools for the clinical diagnosticmarket. We expect them to be a very large customer."

-- Jim Shrine

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