Patent Protection Develops Value for QuantaLife

In the summer of 2008, a small team of Kolisch Hartwell attorneys met with executives of QuantaLife, Inc., a biotechnology startup based in Pleasanton, California. The company specialized in digital PCR (polymerase chain reaction) techniques for DNA amplification, using an oil-emulsion to convert a single sample into thousands of nanoliter droplets. Each of these droplets could then be screened for nucleic acid markers of interest, offering researchers a way to magnify DNA targets such as pathogens or mutations within a sample. QuantaLife’s technology allowed scientists to eliminate much of the noise that had previously hindered accurate quantification.

At the time of the 2008 meeting, QuantaLife’s IP portfolio consisted of a license to a single U.S. patent, and the company had not yet retained any patent counsel. Shortly after the meeting, the company retained Kolisch Hartwell to assist in developing its patent portfolio. The Kolisch Hartwell team set out to understand and protect QuantaLife’s IP rights, and by the middle of 2011 our firm had filed numerous U.S. and foreign patent applications on behalf of the client, covering many key aspects of its digital PCR technology.

Recognizing the value of QuantaLife’s revolutionary technology, in late 2011 Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., a multinational manufacturer and distributor of life science research and clinical diagnostics products, purchased QuantaLife for $162 million plus potential future milestone payments. Read more about Bio-Rad’s acquisition of QuantaLife. Bio-Rad enriched the QuantaLife technology by developing the QX100 Droplet Digital PCR System, which features one device to generate emulsified droplets and a second device to analyze the results of the PCR test. This approach expands the versatility of the system by allowing researchers to integrate their own procedures during diagnostics. The QX100 Droplet Digital PCR system went on to win R&D Magazine’s distinguished “R&D 100 Award” in honor of the technology’s far-reaching impact. Kolisch Hartwell continues to represent QuantaLife (now a subsidiary of Bio-Rad).

A high-quality and well-conceived patent portfolio can quickly build the value of a company in any area of technology, positioning the company competitively in the marketplace and making it a desirable candidate for investment or acquisition. As a result of our relatively small size and base location in Oregon, Kolisch Hartwell provides superior quality patent portfolio development services more responsively and at a lower cost than large national IP firms. Learn more about our patent prosecution services, or see more details about our biotechnology expertise.