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A license to amplify
ST. LOUIS, Mo.—Sigma-Aldrich, a leading life sciences company whose products are used in such areas as genomic research, biotechnology and pharmaceutical development, recently announced an exclusive licensing agreement with Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Rubicon Genomics to further develop and commercialize that company's TransPlex whole transcriptome amplification technology.
Under the terms of the agreement, Rubicon retains all rights to TransPlex for molecular diagnostics. No specific financial details were released.
This isn't the first time the companies have come together, though. In late 2004, Rubicon entered into a licensing agreement that granted Sigma-Aldrich exclusive worldwide rights to its GenomePlex whole genome amplification technology for the production and sale of kits to the research market. As with the current deal, Rubicon retained rights to the technology for molecular diagnostics, which is its core market. Since releasing TransPlex in late 2005, Rubicon had been seeking a partner for the sale of TransPlex to the research market.
"Rubicon is very pleased that Sigma-Aldrich will be marketing TransPlex kits to complement the very successful GenomePlex whole genome amplification kits," says John Langmore, vice president of commercial development at Rubicon. "We have confidence that their customers will embrace TransPlex for biological research and development of diagnostic products."
"Sigma-Aldrich is committed to bringing best-in-class- technologies to the genomic research community, and [TransPlex] is clearly in that category," adds Keith Jolliff, director of marketing for genomics and functional genomics at Sigma-Aldrich.
TransPlex kits convert total RNA into in vitro cDNA libraries of short, overlapping amplimers that faithfully represent the entire transcriptome of any animal, plant or microorganism, according to Langmore. These molecular libraries are amplified by universal-primer PCR, which reportedly has the advantage of both exponential amplification kinetics and linear product representation. TransPlex shows little gene-bias or exon-bias for transcripts up to 10 kb in length, Rubicon reports, even after extensive RNA degradation, and Langmore further notes that the technology allows RNA samples to be amplified 1,000-fold to 10,000-fold in less than four hours, adding that the technology works well even when the RNA is partially degraded, as can be the case with formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue.