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Novel process for DNA labeling


* baseclick GmbH has signed first contracts
* Innovative method enables commercial DNA labeling by multiple dye molecules
* Start-up company offers a unique portfolio of technologies and products

For the first time, baseclick GmbH, a start-up company spun off from BASF SE and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, is making its newly developed process for labeling nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) available to customers. The company recently signed licensing agreements for this technology with three molecular biology service providers. The new partners baseclick GmbH has signed up are Integrated DNA Technology (IDT) from the U.S., as well as Ella Biotech and metabion from Germany. These service providers produce short DNA fragments (known as oligos) for customers in academic and industrial research. Furthermore, the European Patent Office has granted the basic patent for click chemistry on nucleic acids to baseclick GmbH effective September 1, 2010.

“We are turning over a new leaf here in specific modification of nucleic acids for research, diagnostics and nucleic-acid-based medicines,” said Dr. Thomas Frischmuth, General Manager of baseclick GmbH, and added: “We are pleased to make this technology available to globally leading manufacturers of modified nucleic acids by granting them licences on our patent.”

The baseclick technology allows users to label multiple dye molecules on DNA strands in a sequence-specific manner. This process is more efficient, more cost effective and simpler than conventional technologies. Labeling with multiple dye molecules used to be highly complicated in the past and was not available commercially. The attachment of multiple dyes enables several or highly complex analyses to be carried out in a single operation. Applications include analyses for pathogens like HIV, hepatitis, or even tumor cells. The technique can also be used to detect mutations in human, animal and plant genomes.

The innovation developed by baseclick GmbH is based on the click reaction on nucleic acids, which integrates modified DNA modules into a DNA strand. These modified DNA fragments allow dye molecules to be attached. The reaction enables very specific, i.e., selective and efficient, labeling of DNA without creating any by-products as conventional methods do.

The baseclick technology is based on click chemistry research by Prof. Barry Sharpless (who won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2001) of The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, U.S., and Prof. Thomas Carell of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Germany. baseclick GmbH has obtained a worldwide license from The Scripps Research Institute to practice click chemistry in its field of research.

About baseclick

Headquartered in Tutzing near Munich, baseclick GmbH was founded in April 2008. Its shares are held by BASF Venture Capital GmbH and Prof. Dr. Thomas Carell of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich. Along with its expertise, baseclick GmbH offers to support customers with licenses on labeling processes and some 90 high-quality dyes and labels. The basic patent on copper-catalyzed click reactions on nucleic acids was granted by the European Patent Office in 2010.

About BASF Venture Capital GmbH

BASF Venture Capital GmbH was established in 2001 as a wholly owned subsidiary of BASF Future Business GmbH, Ludwigshafen, Germany, with the aim of exploring new growth potentials based on investment in startup companies and funds. BASF Venture Capital GmbH’s financial commitment per company is in the range of one to five million euros, with active support provided for young start-ups. BASF Venture Capital GmbH selects businesses for investment whose success factors include innovative chemistry-based solutions and which are of strategic interest for BASF. More information about BASF Venture Capital GmbH is available at


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