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GEN News Highlights : Nov 1, 2010

Roche and DNA Electronics to Develop Semiconductor-Based Sequencing System

The goal is to produce an inexpensive, highly scalable, long read, high-density sequencing platform.

Roche’s 454 Life Sciences has entered an exclusive partnership with DNA Electronics to develop a low-cost, high-throughput DNA sequencing system. The collaboration leverages 454 Life Sciences’ long read sequencing chemistry with DNA Electronics’ knowledge of semiconductor design and expertise in pH-mediated detection of nucleotide insertions.

As part of the agreement, Roche signed a nonexclusive license for relevant IP from DNA Electronics’ semiconductor technology portfolio. The technology to be developed under this partnership will build on 454 Life Sciences’ current pyrosequencing-based sequencing platforms. The aim is to enable a seamless evolution from optical detection to inexpensive, highly scalable electrochemical detection and produce a long read, high-density sequencing platform.

Combining the scalability and cost savings of semiconductor technology, a result of decades of advances in the computing industry, with 454 Life Sciences’ long read chemistry has the potential to allow comprehensive human genome mutation and structural variation identification within hours, Roche and DNA Electronics note.

DNA Electronics’ technology utilizes completely electronic methods for semiconductor-based detection of DNA nucleotide incorporations via pH changes. The pH change is generated when two complementary nucleotides bind together and protons are released in the process, which switches on an ion-sensitive semiconductor field effect transistor, allowing real-time DNA sequencing and analysis.

This DNA detection technology overcomes limitations of traditional optical detection technologies, which depend on labels and have exacting manufacturing demands, Roche and DNA Electronics point out. DNA Electronics says that its CMOS semiconductor core technology solutions are label free, can be fabricated in any microchip foundry, and are developed into multiple platforms.

DNA Electronics’ IP portfolio includes techniques for monitoring nucleotide insertions using solid-state biosensors on standard CMOS chip technology. The firm has developed the Genalysis® platform of disposable silicon chip-based solutions for real-time nucleic acid sequence detection at the point of care.