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NIPT Patent Wars Continue Illumina Vs Ariosa

|Includes: Illumina, Inc. (ILMN)

Just as Ariosa is planning to hit the road for an IPO, Illumina files another IP lawsuit...

GenomeWeb article 4/25 morning:

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) - Ariosa Diagnostics has priced its planned initial public offering of 3.5 million shares.

In an amended Form S-1 filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, the company priced its common shares at a range of $16 to $18 per share. At the $17 midpoint price, the offering would bring in net proceeds of $52.3 million, the San Jose, Calif.-based non-invasive prenatal testing firm said.

Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners and an affiliated fund that currently holds shares in Ariosa have indicated an interest in purchasing up to $10 million of the company's shares at the IPO price, the company said

Ariosa has also granted the offering's underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 535,000 additional shares to cover any overallotments. If the options are exercised in full, net proceeds would increase to about $60.6 million. JP Morgan and Citigroup Global Markets are acting as joint book-running managers on the planned IPO. William Blair and Leerink Swann are also named as underwriters.

Ariosa filed last month to go public on the Nasdaq Global Market under ticker symbol "AROS."

In its SEC document on Thursday, it said that it plans to use about $25 million to expand its commercial organization, including personnel for sales and marketing initiatives. About $8 million would be used for its San Jose laboratory infrastructure, and the rest would go toward general corporate purposes.

Ariosa recorded $53.3 million in revenues and a net loss of $2.4 million in 2013. In the first quarter of 2014, it generated $19.5 million in revenues and a profit of $1.1 million. The firm had $16.8 million in cash and cash equivalents as of March 31.

GenomeWed article 4/25 afternoon:

Illumina Sues Ariosa Dx Alleging Infringement of NIPT Patent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) - Illumina announced after the close of the market on Friday that it is suing Ariosa Diagnostics for alleged patent infringement.

In the lawsuit filed in US District Court for the Northern District of California, Illumina has alleged that Ariosa is infringing US Patent No. 7,955,794, titled "Multiplex nucleic acid reactions." According to the patent abstract, the invention covers multiplexing methods for amplifying and/or genotyping samples simultaneously.

The patent was issued in June 2011 to researchers in San Diego and assigned to Illumina.

The lawsuit takes aim at Ariosa's Harmony Prenatal Test, "including its use of digital analysis of selected regions that, among other things, enables simultaneous quantification of hundreds of DNA loci," Illumina said in a statement.

Illumina's lawsuit adds to the pile of litigation that has marked the non-invasive prenatal testing market, including a lawsuit by Verinata Health, which Illumina acquired in 2013, against Ariosa claiming it infringed US Patent Nos. 8,296,076 and 8,318,430. Verinata offers the Verifi test, which competes against Harmony.

Last October, the US District Court for the Northern District of California issued a Markman ruling that sought to determine the definition of certain language used by Ariosa and Verinata, as well as their competitors in the NIPT space, Sequenom and Natera, in litigation over six NIPT-related patents. Illumina said on Friday that the court in that case issued a claim construction order "providing the court's interpretation of the disputed patent terms which supports the position that Ariosa infringes those patents."

On deadline, Ariosa did not respond to a request for comment. Earlier in the week, the San Jose, Calif.-based firm priced its IPO, saying it anticipates net proceeds of about $60.6 million.