PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 5 -- Agilent Technologies Inc. today announced its acquisition of Computational Biology Corp., a biotech pioneer in "ChIP-on-chip," a microarray-based technique for understanding gene regulation in disease. The acquisition gives Agilent exclusive access to the patent and intellectual property for ChIP-on-chip analysis that it will use to provide microarray solutions for disease research, drug discovery and drug development.
Computational Biology Corp., based in Cambridge, Mass., was founded by Richard Young and David Gifford of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and biotechnology executive Heidi Wyle. Young is a professor at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and the primary inventor of ChIP-on-chip. Gifford, an MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science, is an expert in computational biology and in the development of software algorithms for biological analysis. Both will remain professors at MIT while consulting with Agilent on commercial applications for ChIP-on-chip.
Agilent said it will open a center in Cambridge within six months of the acquisition to enable collaboration with Young and Gifford, Whitehead and MIT and other collaborators and customers in the region. It will include an Agilent demonstration center for genomics, proteomics and informatics.
ChIP-on-chip uses chromatin immuno-precipitation (ChIP) to discover how regulatory proteins interact with the genome of living cells. Regulatory proteins bind to genomic DNA to control chromosome replication and gene activity, thereby functioning as switches in the regulatory circuitry of cells. This circuitry is largely uncharted, and its discovery will help researchers develop new drugs targeting the proteins and pathways that play a role in disease.
Informatics will be critical for integrating ChIP-on-chip data with other microarray-based research results. Agilent's recent acquisition of Silicon Genetics will facilitate the development of new software for ChIP-on-chip and complex genomic analyses.
As part of the acquisition, Agilent has acquired exclusive access to U.S. patent 6,410,243, Chromosome-Wide Analysis of Protein-DNA Interactions, which is the property of the Whitehead Institute and licensed exclusively to Computational Biology Corp.
For more information, visit: www.agilent.com