Quantum Dot Corporation (QDC) added four new patents to its intellectual property portfolio in the fourth quarter of 2003, bringing its total for the year to eight patents. With 137 patents issued or pending, QDC is the world leader in semiconductor nanocrystal technology and its commercialization for use in biological, biochemical, and biomedical applications.
"These four patents are additional evidence that Quantum Dot Corporation has established a dominant position in nanocrystal-based biological imaging," said Ken Barovsky, Ph.D., QDC's vice president and intellectual property counsel. "We clearly have the industry's strongest intellectual property portfolio."
Quantum dots are nanoscale crystals - nearly one-billionth of a meter in dimension - that shine brightly when excited by a light source, helping researchers and surgeons observe their work with far greater sensitivity and longevity than current imaging techniques. QDC's quantum dot products - including Qdot nanoparticles and Qbead Encoded Beads - are used by life science researchers at leading universities and companies such as AstraZeneca, Genentech and GlaxoSmithKline to enhance and improve drug discovery, gene expression experiments, studies of living tissue and cells, medical diagnostics and cancer surgery. They represent the culmination of years of research and substantial investment at QDC, the University of California (UC), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and other leading research institutions. QDC is the exclusive licensee for biological applications of the technology protected by the UC and MIT patents.
"QDC was the first to successfully build upon the pioneering quantum dot work of academic and government scientists," said Carol Lou, QDC's president. "Our early lead in the marketplace is due to our ability to prepare and modify quantum dots using robust, reproducible, and safe manufacturing procedures, resulting in the highest quality possible."
From its beginning, QDC has pursued a two-pronged strategy: Recruiting top researchers for its in-house research department, and simultaneously licensing core quantum dot technology from leading universities. That strategy paid off in 2003, earning QDC more than 1,000 customers in its first year to market, and three patents granted for in-house research by QDC's world-class R&D team.
The four patents granted in Q4 2003 are:
- U.S. Patent No. 6,630,307 - Entitled "Method of Detecting an Analyte in a Sample Using Semiconductor Nanocrystals as a Detectable Label," this patent covers the use of layered quantum dots and quantum dots coated with the protein streptavidin to amplify their signals and enhance their sensitivity. The patent's inventors are Marcel Bruchez, principal scientist at Quantum Dot Corporation, and colleagues.
- U.S. Patent No. 6,649,138 - Entitled "Surface-Modified Semiconductive and Metallic Nanoparticles Having Enhanced Dispersibility in Aqueous Media," this is the first patent issued to QDC that covers a core technology invention - the AMP coating, which, among other things, makes quantum dots stable in water and lets them be coated with the biomolecular probes that seek out and bind to target molecules such as proteins. Granted to Edward Adams et al., Quantum Dot Corporation.
- U.S. Patent No. 6,653,080 - Entitled "Loop probe hybridization assay for polynucleotide analysis," the patent provides a novel, rapid method for mapping genetic variation in DNA and RNA samples via multiplexed/encoded solid-phase analysis. Bruchez et al., Quantum Dot Corporation.
- U.S. Patent No. 6,617,583 - This is another in a line of patents covering QDC's Qbead technology. The patent covers the case of a multi-colored bead where the colors are generated by differently sized quantum dots. Licensed from MIT. Inventor: Dr. Moungi Bawendi