Affymetrix holds over 140 important patents for expression profiling, mutation analysis, genotyping and SNP analysis. Any company who wants to enter this market, be it for basic research, for the development of new medications, or for disease diagnostics, needs to acquire a licence from Affymetrix.
The lawsuit mainly deals with the basic technologies of in situ DNA synthesis and is therefore widely overestimated. Even if Affymetrix had lost the lawsuit, the company’s patents on expression profiling, genotyping and mutation analysis by means of DNA arrays would not have been affected.
Affymetrix will continue to protect its licensees and will take action against any infringements of its patents.
A study by The Lion Consulting Group (Emeryvill, CA) has shown that the market potential for microarrays in 2006 will be US$ 2.3 billion. The share for expression profiling will be over US$ 1.1 billion and for mutation analysis US$ 400 million. The rest will be made up of DNA sequencing applications.
MWG-BIOTECH recognized this chance early on and, building on a strategy of cooperation, has acquired a licence for the production and sale of DNA biochips. It belives that a public company has to show this legal commitment. If a company uses patented technology for which it does not hold the patents, it has an obligation to acquire the licences. MWG-BIOTECH therefore strongly condemns any company that willfully infringes patents and gives false information to the financial world. Consulting patent studies creates clarity. There are four other companies apart from MWG-BIOTECH which own a licence for DNA chip technology.
The LION Consulting study further stresses that companies with good informatics potential (bioinformatics) and the capability to acquire relevant genes (DNA sequencing) will play an important role in the DNA chip market. This strongly supports MWG‘s strategy. Earlier this year it launched its bioinformatics software „GIST“ for DNA chip design and for the integration of sequencing data produced at its own genome sequencing facility.
By means of the synergistic integration of genome sequencing, bioinformatics and DNA chip technologies into a single company concept it has created the infrastructure for becoming a successful leader in the genomics industry.
Whatever result the patent lawsuits will bring, MWG-BIOTECH will not be affected by them, as it uses its own independent and proprietary synthesis method. As one of the world’s biggest producers in DNA synthesis MWG has unlimited access to the genetic „raw material“ of oligonucleotides (little snips of genetic information) which are needed for the production of DNA chips. Due to the fact that it has all instruments, raw materials and know how necessary for DNA chip production in house, it can offer biochips fast, at low prices and in high quality. It has achieved the breakthrough in the development and production of DNA chips and will shortly present its first products to the market. MWG plans on producing new chips on a weekly basis.
MWG-BIOTECH plans to become a clear number 2 in the DNA chip technology market. It has cooperations with Affymetrix in many European countries and will further build on that cooperation in the near future.