Illumina currently has the monopoly on NGS equipment, and Illumina’s machines make a common (and bulky) fixture in labs all over the world. In the future, many hospitals will move into data-driven medicine and NGS plays an important part in this process.
Illumina has now decided to sue the much smaller, (but very successful) Oxford Nanopore. A spin-off from Oxford University, it has had impressive fundraising rounds and is one of the few Biotech unicorns in Europe.
At the heart of this dispute are two patents (US 867,355,0B2 and US 917,023,0B2) that Illumina controls. These patents cover the use of Mycobaterium smegmatis porins – a technology which Illumina now claims that Oxford Nanopore is using in their innovative devices.
There are several unusual twists in this story.