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AP News

Sequenom shares slip following court decision

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Sequenom Inc. fell Friday after a California court refused to block a product that could compete with Sequenom's MaterniT21 Down syndrome test.

THE SPARK: The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied Sequenom's request for an injunction against sales of Ariosa Diagnostics' Harmony prenatal test. Sequenom says the Harmony test infringes on a patent covering the MaternityT21 test. In February it asked the court to block Ariosa from offering or marketing the test, but the court refused to do so.

Ariosa, of San Jose, Calif., said it was "vindicated" by the decision. Sequenom, which is based in San Diego, said it is disappointed with the decision but will continue litigation against Ariosa.

THE BIG PICTURE: MaterniT21 is a blood test intended for women who are at high risk of carrying a fetus with Down syndrome. Sequenom says the test can detect the chromosomal anomaly that causes Down syndrome as early as 10 weeks into pregnancy. It is intended to be less invasive than other forms of testing. The test also looks for two other chromosomal disorders. All three are caused by an extra copy of a chromosome

Harmony is intended to detect the same disorders.

SHARE ACTION: Shares of Sequenom lost 7 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $4 in afternoon trading Friday after falling as low as $3.84 earlier in the session. The stock is down about 14 percent since May 17, when Sequenom announced that health insurer Coventry Health Care Inc. no longer planned to cover the MaterniT21 test.

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