DNA sequencing trace
  • DNA sequencing trace
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San Diego's Illumina is a biotech powerhouse. As researchers increasingly discover that genetic factors are the causes of diseases, Illumina stands out: it has an overwhelming share of the market for machines that can sequence an entire genome.

Yesterday (March 18) the stock closed at $150.24, up more than 2 percent. The publication Barron's says this weekend (March 19) that Illumina shares could rise 50 percent because of its solid position.

Barron's raves that in the next decade, "your doctor will prescribe a medicine that is customized specifically for you." The doctor will have a laptop that contains your entire genome. The instrument will probably be supplied by Illumina, which currently has a 70 percent share of the gene-sequencing market.

Scripps Research Institute is one of the world's most prestigious nonprofit research organization specializing in medical research. Indeed, Scripps and Illumina are two shining lights of San Diego–based research. Now, a major battle between the two seems on the horizon.

On March 17, Scripps filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Diego against Illumina, charging patent infringement. Scripps has patented a technology pertaining to a "bifunctional molecule" used in the manufacture of DNA microarrays, according to the suit. These DNA microarrays are used in genetic analyses of many diseases.

"For a number of years, Illumina has manufactured and marketed DNA microarray technologies and products," says the suit. "The bifunctional molecule used in the manufacture of such Illumina products utilizes the Scripps Research Institute's patented technology."

The suit charges that "Illumina has directly infringed" on parts of a patent developed by Scripps scientists. The suit charges that Illumina had knowledge of Scripps's patent when it was using it. The infringement was "deliberate and willful," says the suit.

Illumina refuses to discuss the suit. Scripps did not respond to questions about the suit.

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oceanapac March 19, 2016 @ 4:23 p.m.

"Scripps Research Institute is one of the world's most prestigious nonprofit research organization specializing in medical research."

Is this taxpayer owned, and if they're doing so well, shouldn't they be generating income?


Don Bauder March 19, 2016 @ 6:54 p.m.

oceanapac: Scripps is structured as a nonprofit, as many research operations are. Income it generate goes back into the organization. (However, insiders have raked in dough from initial public offerings of emerging biotech companies. The experimental work was done, and paid for, by Scripps, but individuals reap the benefits. We call this sociaiization of the risk and privatization of the gain. It stinks. But it is a different topic.) Best, Don Bauder


Visduh March 20, 2016 @ 9:53 a.m.

It's all about money, isn't it? Scripps should be mostly interested in the good of humanity, and seldom comes across that way. Illumina could take a similar approach, even though it is a profit making corporation, a rather heretical notion. So, the courts will sort this out, or the parties will settle. Illumina will pay something to Scripps, and will get a license, and all will be happy until the next dispute arises.


Don Bauder March 20, 2016 @ 4:03 p.m.

Visduh: Yes, it's all about money. Such disputes almost always are. Best, Don Bauder


ImJustABill March 20, 2016 @ 4:31 p.m.

I think Scripps receives a great deal of taxpayer funding and they have a responsibility to the taxpayers to limit the amount of tax dollars spent. If they can save the taxpayers some money by charging some licensing fees I think they should do it.


Don Bauder March 21, 2016 @ 7:31 a.m.

ImJustABill: Scripps receives some of its funding from the federal government's National Institutes of Health. I think that if Scripps commercializes a medical advance that was financed by the federal government, it should find a way to reimburse taxpayers. Best, Don Bauder


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