DNA Electronics granted patents for semiconductor-based nucleotide detection

12 Nov 2010

Imperial College offshoot DNA Electronics Ltd has been awarded three key patents in the United States, China and Europe for semiconductor-based nucleotide detection.

The patents build upon DNA Electronics’ strong semiconductor intellectual property (IP) portfolio, relevant parts of which have been licensed non-exclusively to Roche and Life Technologies in recent months.

The core platform is based on an invention by semiconductor healthcare pioneer Professor Chris Toumazou FRS — founder and CEO of DNA Electronics — and a research student of his. In 2001, they found that when two complementary nucleotides bind together, protons are released, which generates a pH change, and that this pH change could switch on a microchip-based transistor known as an ion-sensitive field-effect transistor (ISFET).

This effectively became a form of true 'DNA Logic', turning the nucleotides of the DNA code into the 0 and 1 of digital computing. Since then, DNA Electronics has gone on to expand its IP portfolio and continues to develop its handheld Genalysis semiconductor platform which offers unprecedented point-of-care results for infection detection and pharmacogenetics — predicting how a patient will likely respond to specific medication.

Commenting on the recent developments in the company, Professor Chris Toumazou said, “DNA Electronics has a technology and an IP portfolio with wide applicability and the potential to significantly transform life sciences and healthcare. We want to enable our licensees to pioneer semiconductors in the life science markets, as is now happening in the field of DNA sequencing.

"We provided access to relevant IP to Ion Torrent, and its subsequent acquisition by Life Technologies signifies the value of semiconductor-based sequencing platforms. As a company we are excited about this development and, as recently announced, we look forward to working with Roche’s 454 Life Sciences to utilize our silicon chip expertise to support them in the development of their semiconductor sequencing platform.

“With these new patents awarded to the company, we are in an even stronger position to pursue our non-exclusive platform licensing structure.”

About Genalysis technology

DNA Electronics’ technology is based on standard CMOS semiconductor technology, meaning that fabrication of the chip-based chemical transistors can be manufactured in any microchip foundry in the world without any modification of these exceptionally high-volume techniques.

The CMOS semiconductor technology also allows scaling up of the number of sensors that can be integrated on to a single chip, as well as the integration of on-board readout, processing and communications circuitry.

By leveraging DNA Electronics’ platform technology, immediate conversion of chemical reactions to digital signals can record each nucleotide’s incorporation in seconds, which makes possible scalable sequencers that complete runs in a matter of hours and enables truly point-of-care DNA diagnostic devices.


To top