LONDON – DNA Electronics Ltd., a fabless chip startup that offers real-time nucleic acid detection, has signed an agreement with a subsidiary of Hoffmann-La Roche AG (Basel, Switzerland) to develop a semiconductor-based DNA sequencing system.
DNA Electronics, founded in 2003, said it has entered a partnership with 454 Life Sciences to focus on the development of a low-cost, high-throughput, compact DNA sequencing system. As part of the agreement, DNA Electronics has signed a non-exclusive licence to provide relevant IP from its proprietary semiconductor technology portfolio to Roche. This technology which enables sensitive detection of nucleotide incorporation during sequencing will build on 454 Life Sciences' pyrosequencing-based platform. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
The collaboration combines the use of pH-mediated detection of nucleotide insertions with 454 Life Sciences' long-read sequencing chemistry to produce a seamless evolution from optical detection to low-cost, highly scalable electrochemical detection.
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 (ISFET), allowing real-time DNA sequencing and analysis.
Electronic DNA detection overcomes limitations of traditional optical detection technologies. DNA Electronics provides a CMOS core that can be fabricated in any semiconductor foundry in the world and developed into multiple platforms. The collaboration between DNA Electronics and 454 Life Sciences is a step towards human genome sequencing that can identify mutations and structural variations within hours.
"We have always believed that the marriage between mature standard CMOS semiconductor technology, ubiquitous in the consumer electronics world, and the molecular life science industry will eventually transform research machines into affordable diagnostics tools," said Professor Christopher Toumazou FRS, DNA Electronics chairman and CEO, in a statement.
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