Life Technologies signed an exclusive license agreement for a technology that effectively allows the programming and control of genetic circuitry in engineered pathways and organisms. The Transcription Activator-Like (TAL) Effector Technology enables the design of proteins that specifically target and bind to a desired sequence of DNA, allowing the delivery of elements that control or modify specific aspects of cellular function, Life Technology explains.
The firm initially plans to make the TAL Effector technology available through its Geneart gene synthesis portfolio. However, it says the platform will have far broader applications in fields such as bioproduction, stem cell research, and drug discovery.
In August 2010, Life Technologies purchased about 59% of Germany’s Geneart, which concentrates on DNA engineering and processing. It provides custom gene-synthesis and gene-optimization services to its customers. Life Technologies now owns a 74% stake in that company.
The TAL Effector platform was originally developed by scientists at the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg in Germany and previously licensed to the Two Blades Foundation (2Blades) for all applications in plants. Life Technologies' license, signed with with the inventors and the Two Blades Foundation, gives the firm research use for plant applications. Rights to commercial applications of the technology in plants has been retained by 2Blades.