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.