Helicos BioSciences Corporation (NASDAQ: HLCS) announced today that it has amended its lawsuit against Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. for patent infringement by naming Illumina, Inc. and Life Technologies Corporation as additional defendants. The amended lawsuit, Helicos BioSciences Corporation v. Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc., Life Technologies Corporation, and Illumina, Inc., No. 1:10-cv-00735, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, alleges that the companies willfully infringe Helicos’ patents for sequencing-by-synthesis methods. The suit seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages.
"These actions further support our recently announced strategic initiative to maximize the return to our shareholders on the technology investments that we have made by vigorously protecting our seminal next-generation sequencing intellectual property rights. Helicos was the first to invent and market single molecule sequencing technology and has established a foundational patent estate with the earliest priority dates in the field,” stated Dr. Ivan Trifunovich, President and CEO of Helicos. “After a careful examination of the sequencing products and technologies offered by Illumina and Life Technologies, we are convinced that they, in addition to Pacific Biosciences, infringe the Helicos patents, which are in full force and effect up through 2028.”
The complaint alleges infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,645,596 (which expires in 2019), 7,037,687 (which expires in 2020), 7,169,560 (which expires in 2024), 7,767,400 (which expires in 2028) and 7,593,109 (which expires in 2024). Collectively, these patents broadly cover key features of sequencing-by-synthesis technology. In the case, Helicos claims that all three companies incorporated Helicos’ patented sequencing-by-synthesis technology into their respective sequencing systems and products. The patents cover sequencing-by-synthesis methods using labeled nucleotides. The nucleotides are labeled with detectable markers, such as fluorescent markers, that enable determination of each nucleotide incorporated into the DNA strand being extended by the polymerase. The patents describe processes that involve, for example, identifying each new nucleotide by observing its detectable label and neutralizing or removing the label before addition of the next nucleotide. The specific claims apply to both “real time” and “step and repeat” approaches. Helicos believes that these fundamental, patented sequencing-by-synthesis and sample detection technologies are at the heart of the defendants’ sequencing technology platforms, all of which infringe multiple claims in several patents, as asserted in the complaint. In addition, Helicos claims that Illumina’s critical detection components in their sequencing instruments Genome Analyzer and HiSeq 2000 infringe on Helicos’ patent 7,593,109.