Danish biotech company Novozymes has a portfolio covering recombinant expression, molecular screening and cloning, which should be complemented by this licensing deal. In essence the Red/ET Recombineering technology is a technique that can be used instead of conventional cloning to modify DNA. Its main advantage is that it can be used to make much larger DNA constructs than other techniques. In addition, the technology does not produce unwanted mutations and is quicker than previous techniques. Consequently, Red/ET is more efficient than traditional recombination techniques, resulting in savings of time and money. Dr Alan Berry, director of microbial physiology and high throughput screening at Novozymes said: "The Red/ET system is a very powerful technology, and we look forward to using it to accelerate our strain development efforts."
The technology is aimed at scientists working in transgenics and those working in metabolic engineering, for example to improve microorganism strains in order to boost production levels. Red/ET modifies DNA by utilising the natural process of homologous recombination. This process has been used before for genetic engineering but earlier techniques suffered from an inability to use linear DNA molecules as they degraded too quickly. Consequently circular molecules were used but this resulted in a low proportion of the desired product. Red/ET has proven to be a versatile tool, with the capability to perform every type of DNA modification possible, with Gene Bridges stating the application makes it "trivial to direct changes to a chosen DNA sequence or to introduce point mutations at any chosen site of a target DNA molecule regardless of its size".
This versatility has proven popular, with Gene Bridges agreeing two licensing deals in the last month, the other being with Genencor, as well as a wide-ranging partnership with BASF in April 2007. The cost of the licensing deal with Novozymes has not been revealed but a six month trial of the application is known to cost €5000. Gene Bridges licensing deals are worldwide and non-exclusive, with the licensee having the option to customize the agreement to cover the applications relevant to its business.
The company will also offer Red/ET engineering on a fee-for-service basis for customers who do not want to work with the technology in-house, and also sells Red/ET kits around the world, mainly to academia.