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Ravgen Sues Illumina, Roche Alleging Infringement of Cell-Free DNA Testing Patents

NEW YORK – Ravgen, a prenatal testing firm based in Columbia, Maryland, has sued Illumina and its subsidiary Verinata Health, as well as Roche subsidiaries Ariosa Diagnostics, Foundation Medicine, and Roche Sequencing Solutions in a separate suit, alleging infringement of two patents covering testing of cell-free DNA.

In a complaint filed Thursday in the US District Court for the District of Delaware, Ravgen said Illumina's Verifi and VeriSeq non-invasive prenatal tests and TruSight Oncology assays infringe US Patent Nos. 7,727,720 and 7,332,277, both titled "Methods For Detection Of Genetic Disorders." Another complaint, filed in the same court, alleges that the Roche-owned Harmony Prenatal Test, FoundationOne liquid biopsy, and FoundationACT assay infringe the same patents.

The patents cover methods that prevent cell lysis in a sample, which increases the fraction of cell-free DNA that can be analyzed. They list Ravgen Founder and CEO Ravinder Dhallan as the sole inventor.

"It seems the entire industry has co-opted the Ravgen inventions without permission," John Desmarais, an attorney representing Ravgen, said in an email. 

Desmarais noted that these suits are two more in a series of cases alleging patent infringement by some of the largest molecular diagnostic testing companies in the US. Earlier this year, Ravgen filed suits against Natera, Perkin Elmer, Laboratory Corporation of America, and Quest Diagnostics in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, alleging infringement of the same patents as those in the Illumina and Roche suits.

Neither Illumina nor Roche responded to request for comment.

In both cases, Ravgen asked the court for a jury trial and to be awarded damages, attorneys fees and costs, and a permanent injunction against the respective defendants.