Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) ("Agilent") today announced that it has acquired the molecular and sample barcoding patent portfolios of Population Genetics Technologies ("Population Genetics"). Founded in 2005, Population Genetics was formed to commercialize the intellectual property portfolio of Nobel Laureate Sydney Brenner focused on high sensitivity and high specificity Next Generation Sequencing ("NGS") detection. In 2015, Population Genetics became an IP holding entity with over 30 patents. Financial terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

"Our customers are increasingly requiring fully integrated next-generation sequencing workflows with the highest performance," said Herman Verrelst, vice president and general manager of Agilent's Genomics Division. "With the addition of this IP portfolio, we can now deliver complete target enrichment solutions to our customers that they can trust, from QC to target enrichment, to analysis and interpretation that meets this demand."

The acquired Population Genetics IP includes patents related to both molecular and sample barcoding that improve accuracy and sensitivity of NGS detection. The combination of these patents provides for customizable target enrichment solutions that enable customers to detect ultra-low mutation frequencies in very small DNA quantities. These features are ideal for detection of rare-variants in cancer and reproductive genetics, including liquid biopsies.

"We are excited to bring these technologies to our customers," said Jacob Thaysen, president of Agilent's Diagnostics and Genomics Group. "We outlined a strategy to grow in the diagnostics space, and to build a complete routine clinical NGS workflow. This acquisition is another example of executing on that strategy, and our commitment to helping our customers improve the quality of life."

Agilent's newest next generation sequencing library prep solution, Agilent SureSelectXT HS, incorporates molecular barcodes from this IP portfolio. The incorporation of these molecular barcodes improves the overall precision and produces higher complexity libraries than competing products, on a broad range of tissue types and low- and high-quality FFPE samples.   Information about SureSelectXT HS is available on Agilent's website.

Agilent and Population Genetics had a previous licensing arrangement providing Agilent with licensing rights to certain Population Genetics molecular barcode patented technology, which allows for the sensitive and confident detection of minority genetic variants on next generation sequencing platforms to levels below 0.1%.