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Roche Licenses Nanopore Sequencing Technologies from Arizona State University and Columbia University for Rapid, Affordable DNA Sequencing

BRANFORD, Connecticut and TEMPE, Arizona, October 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) and Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE) announced today an agreement to license several technologies developed by Dr. Stuart Lindsay at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University and Dr. Colin Nuckolls of the Columbia University Nanoscience Center for the development of a revolutionary DNA sequencing system. The licensed technologies include specialized approaches for DNA base sensing and reading and build on an ongoing collaboration between Roche's sequencing center of excellence, 454 Life Sciences, and IBM (NYSE: IBM) to develop and commercialize a single-molecule, nanopore DNA sequencer with the capacity to rapidly decode an individual's complete genome for well below $1000.

The licensed technologies offer novel approaches for reading the sequence of bases, or letters, in a single DNA molecule as it is passed through a nanopore. The team has demonstrated proof-of-concept, and is in the midst of making a third generation reader molecule that provides better discrimination between the DNA bases. The licensing agreement with Roche will help translate these discoveries into a commercial instrument.

 "Our promising approach, which combines advances in physics, electronics and nanotechnology, eliminates the need for the use of a major cost of sequencing today - namely, the use of chemical reagents - to read an individual's genome," said Lindsay, an ASU Regents' Professor and Director of the Biodesign Institute's Center for Single Molecule Biophysics.

"We believe that the DNA reading technologies from the Biodesign Institute are the most advanced available, and will play an important role in our nanopore sequencing system currently under development," says Thomas Schinecker, President of 454 Life Sciences, a Roche Company, "This will complement the DNA Transistor technology from our previously announced collaboration with IBM very well to form the core of a superior platform for extremely fast, very low-cost genome sequencing."

The DNA Transistor technology, developed by IBM Research, slows and controls the movement of the DNA molecule as it threads through a microscopic nanopore in a silicon chip, while the newly licensed DNA reading technology can decode the bases of the DNA molecule as it passes through. Both technologies are centered on semiconductor-based nanopores, which have advantages over protein-based nanopores in terms of control, robustness, scalability, and manufacturability.

The deal was brokered by Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE), the exclusive intellectual property management and technology transfer organization of Arizona State University, and includes sponsored research funding that will help Lindsay's team move the technology towards commercialization. The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recently awarded Lindsay and fellow Biodesign researcher Bharath Takulapalli more than $5 million for their work in DNA sequencing.  ASU was the only university to receive more than one award.

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world's largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche's personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2010, Roche had over 80,000 employees worldwide and invested over 9 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 47.5 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information:

About Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE)

AzTE is a non-profit organization which operates as the exclusive intellectual property management and technology transfer organization for ASU and its research enterprise.  Comprised of industry and university veterans, AzTE brings together ASU's researchers and industry partners to transform discoveries into marketable products and services, taking innovation out of the lab and into the commercial marketplace. AzTE currently offers for licensing more than 300 novel technologies in the life and physical sciences.  For more information:

About Columbia Technology Ventures

A leading academic and research university, Columbia University continually seeks to advance the frontiers of knowledge and to foster a campus community deeply engaged in understanding and addressing the complex global issues of our time. Columbia University's technology transfer office, Columbia Technology Ventures, manages Columbia's intellectual property portfolio and serves as the university's gateway for companies and entrepreneurs seeking novel technology solutions. Our core mission is to facilitate the transfer of inventions from academic research to outside organizations for the benefit of society on a local, national and global basis. For more information on Columbia Technology Ventures, please visit

For life science research only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

454, 454 LIFE SCIENCES, 454 SEQUENCING, and GS FLX are trademarks of Roche.

All other product names and trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

For further information please contact:
Roche Diagnostics
Dr. Burkhard Ziebolz
Phone: +49-8856-604830

454 Life Sciences Corporation, a Roche Company
Dr. Ulrich Schwoerer
Phone: +1-203-871-2300

Arizona Technology Enterprises
Derek Sarley
Marketing & Communications
Phone: +1-202-903-6247

SOURCE Roche Diagnostics GmbH
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