Oxford, UK; 11 July 2005 – Oxford Immunotec, the T-cell diagnostics company, announced today that its core patent, number 0941478, has been upheld by the European Patent Office (EPO). The amended patent covers the Company’s platform T-SPOTTM technology and was granted in Europe last year, but subsequently challenged by Cellestis and sanofi-pasteur.
Formal oral proceedings, held at the EPO, found that the amended patent met all the requirements of the European Patent Convention and the patent was upheld. The EPO’s decision demonstrates the novelty and revolutionary nature of Oxford Immunotec’s core technology, which is the first regulatory approved way of directly quantifying antigen-specific T cells.
“We are very pleased with this outcome in support of our core technology,” said Dr Peter Wrighton-Smith, CEO of Oxford Immunotec. “We have an extremely robust patent in place that comprehensively describes the use of our ground-breaking T-SPOT technology. The results of this challenge further strengthen our IP position.”
By quantifying antigen-specific T cells, a type of immune system cell, Oxford Immunotec’s T-SPOT technology provides a novel, highly sensitive and specific way to monitor the response of the immune system to disease. The Company’s first application of the technology is a diagnostic test for tuberculosis (TB) that can be used to reliably detect latent TB infection. Its accuracy is particularly valuable in immunocompromised patients. T-SPOTTM.TB is currently being marketed in Europe.
The patent describes the T-SPOT process and covers the use of the technology in the diagnosis of disease and monitoring the progress of infections, as well as monitoring the effect of treatments or therapeutic vaccines. Applications of the technology include diagnostic and prognostic tests and tools for use in the development of new therapies and vaccinations.