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2022-05-09|

Illumina to Pay BGI $333M Following Infringement Case

by Fujie Tham
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A federal jury in Delaware, US found several Illumina DNA sequencing platforms violated 2 of the Chinese BGI Group Complete Genomics Inc’s patents. An Illumina spokesperson said the company disagrees with the decision and plans to appeal.

The jury also established that 3 of the Illumina rights Complete Genomics was accused of the breach were invalid, and should not have been issued in the first place. Illumina’s stock (ILMN.O) was down around 15% following the news.

Related article: APCM 2022: Precision Medicine Is Opening Up a New Prospect of Cancer Therapy

 

The Debated 2-Channel Technology

 

The Californian BGI subsidiary, Complete Genomics filed the suit in mid-2019, claiming that San Diego-based Illumina’s 2-channel sequencing system infringed patents for the technology which determines each DNA nucleotide from two signals. Rather than using a separate dye for each base, the 2-channel system simplifies nucleotide detection by using two fluorescent dyes and two images to determine all four nucleotides. Both companies argue their exclusivity to above technology, with Illumina claiming that it invented its 2-channel technology before the BGI patents, and that BGI was unable to make 2-channel chemistry work until it copied Illumina’s technology.

BGI attacked Illumina’s NovaSeq 6000, the NextSeq 500/550/550x, 1000/2000 Series, and the MiniSeq. It also targeted Illumina’s library preparation kits and sequencing kits compatible with multiple platforms, saying that when used in combination with some systems, will violate BGI’s rights.

Illumina’s spokesperson said the company plans to appeal and that the verdict should not affect its ability to supply its customers and the attorney for BGI said the company was pleased with the award, which the judge could multiply based on the willful infringement finding. Recently, this March, Illumina obtained a ban on some BGI sequencers and won $8M for BGI’s violation of its patents. The companies are in a global legal campaign over their respective patents, with court cases in countries including Germany, Switzerland, the UK and Turkey.

Both BGI and Illumina are set to benefit from the global genetic sequencing market, which is expected to reach $35,503M by 2030, growing at 18% annually in regard to rapid growth and demands for genome-analysis technology on genetic diseases.

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