DNA Electronics granted patents for semiconductor-based nucleotide
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
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.
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
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
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
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.