Motorola to exit research bioarray market

Schaumburg: Motorola Inc (www.motorola.com) has announced the sale of the company's CodeLink bioarray business, which has been focused on innovative tools for genetic analysis for biomedical and industrial needs, to Amersham plc.

Amersham acquired certain assets of the CodeLink portion of Motorola's Life Sciences' business for $20 million plus the assumption of certain liabilities and obligations of the business.

Motorola was one of the first of the large electronics companies to recognise the potential application of its manufacturing expertise to the emerging life sciences industry. Motorola entered the bioarray market in 1998 with its in-house development of the CodeLink Bioarray System designed for research applications (high-density bioarrays).

In June of 2000, Motorola acquired Clinical Micro Sensors Inc with its eSensor DNA detection system, bioarrays of appropriate density for clinical and industrial diagnostic applications.

Motorola Life Sciences earned industry accolades for its technology and products. However, the Motorola management made the decision to exit the bioarray research market as part of its restructuring to focus on its core strategic businesses.

“Motorola built an excellent life sciences team, and we're very proud of its accomplishments in developing high-quality, high-value products for our customers,“ says Motorola chairman of the board and chief executive officer Christopher B Galvin. “The decision to exit this business was difficult because we still believe in its potential. We have been making tough decisions to conform to my strategy to focus Motorola on its core competencies of communications and electronics and drive increasing value for our shareholders.“

“We have been undertaking a thorough and thoughtful process in determining the best way to exit this business,“ says Motorola Life Sciences vice-president and general manager George Turner. “We received interest from several companies, but decided that Amersham would make the perfect home for this team and technology. Amersham is a recognised industry leader and we believe that our early work will flourish in their hands and our customers will be well served by this agreement.“

The other segment of Motorola's life sciences business, the eSensor operation, will continue to operate out of Pasadena, California, and the company is evaluating a number of business models and financing options to ensure successful market launch.

“We are very excited about the eSensor DNA detection technology and believe it has significant potential to make DNA testing a routine part of medicine and industry,“ says Motorola Life Sciences vice-president and chief technology officer Dr Jon Faiz Kayyem. The eSensor business unit is currently developing a number of clinical research and diagnostic applications, including tests for Cystic Fibrosis carrier screening.

About the technology
Arrays are chips, or small slides onto which genes and proteins are placed. They are used to study how genes or proteins are “expressed“ — switched on or switched off — in a particular disease state, so that researchers may understand the relationship between gene or protein function to disease and thus design better therapeutic drugs and diagnostic tests.

The Motorola CodeLink platform is based on a unique, patented manufacturing process that produces high-quality arrays with better sensitivity, reproducibility and more useable data points than others on the market.

The eSensor DNA Detection System examines up to 36 DNA or RNA targets simultaneously by bioelectronic detection enabling convenient, flexible, and cost-effective tests.