Life Technologies Inc. has concluded an agreement giving itexclusive marketing rights to sell Whole Chromosome Paints, anovel staining technology, to the research community.

The technology, co-developed by Imagenetics of Naperville, Ill.,and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California,uses specially developed fluorescent dyes to stainchromosomes for much more rapid and accurate detection ofabnormalities.

Researchers expect the technology to help explicate thegenetic basis of cancer and aid in diagnosing cancer andleukemia. Fewer than 10 percent of the 1.2 million cancercases annually in the United States are diagnosed on the basisof chromosome abnormalities.

Sale of nine of the paints for the 24 human chromosomes willbegin this month, with the remaining 15 paints becomingavailable over the next year. Life Technologies (NASDAQ:LTEK)of Gaithersburg, Md., did not disclose terms of its marketingagreement with Imagenetics.

The companies have identified some 1,000 researchinstitutions worldwide that might use the product, accordingto Life Technologies. The kits are configured for 20 assays andsell for $399.

They have not been approved for medical diagnostic use.

"The main purpose of the (marketing) arrangement is to getthem into the research market so data can be collected todetermine their diagnostic value," Life Technologiesspokeswoman Kathleen Munson said.

Imagenetics has rights to the products and to LawrenceLivermore's recombinant DNA libraries for productdevelopment under a technology-transfer agreement with theUniversity of California, which operates the laboratory. --Steve Usdin

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