Biosearch Technologies

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Biosearch Technologies, Inc.
Industry Biotechnology
Founded 1993
Headquarters Petaluma, California
Key people
Ronald Cook, Ph.D
Founder and CEO

Biosearch Technologies, Inc. is a closely held biotechnology company headquartered in Petaluma, California.[1] This company is vertically integrated and specializes in custom synthesized oligonucleotides for qPCR, cGMP oligos for molecular diagnostics, and DNA/RNA synthesis reagents. Their GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) manufacturing facility is located in Novato, California. In 2015, the company LGC "agreed to acquire" Biosearch Technologies based on the two company's complimentary product lines.[2]

Products & Services[edit]

Black Hole Quencher Dyes[edit]

In 2000, Biosearch Technologies developed a dark quencher known as the Black Hole Quencher (BHQ) dyes, which has become an industry standard product and is currently licensed out to a number of other oligonucleotide manufacturers, biotechnology and molecular diagnostic manufacturers. The series of Black Hole Quencher dyes have no native fluorescence, high signal-to-noise ratios providing greater sensitivity, and exceptional coupling efficiency.[3] BHQ dyes are able to quench the entire visible spectrum and near IR spectrum, allowing for a broader range of fluorogenic reporter dyes, which makes the Black Hole Quenchers ideal for multiplexing assays.[4]

Fluorogenic Probes and Primers[edit]

The research team at Biosearch Technologies also developed other fluorescent dyes such as the CAL Fluor, Quasar, and Pulsar series of dyes, which emit fluorescence from 500-700 nanometers. Equipped with the various technology in fluorescent dyes and quenchers, much of Biosearch Technologies' business comes from the design and manufacture of custom probes and primers, which are commonly used for genomic applications such as quantitative PCR and SNP genotyping.

ValuPanel Reagents[edit]

During the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic, Biosearch Technologies became the first to license from the CDC the H1N1 Influenza and Influenza A sub-typing panel signatures. They would later obtain a license for the “pdm” H1N1 signatures as well. With these licenses from the CDC, Biosearch Technologies manufactured probes and primers to discriminate the various flu signatures as part of their ValuPanel Reagents product line.

In 2013, Biosearch responded to the Avian Influenza A (H7N9) outbreak in China by providing an H7N9 detection panel.

Stellaris FISH Probes[edit]

In 2010, Biosearch Technologies acquired an exclusive license to the single molecule fish technology developed by scientists at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.[5] The technology is now branded as Stellaris FISH, and is a method of detecting and quantifying mRNA and other long RNA molecules in cell culture or tissue samples. The technology is a refinement of earlier RNA ISH technologies, and uses multiple single labeled DNA oligonucleotide probes to increase sensitivity and specificity.

Design Service - RealTimeDesign[edit]

Biosearch Technologies offers a free, web-based design service known as RealTimeDesign (RTD) equipped with comprehensive algorithms that allow the software to model and propose quantitative PCR and SNP genotyping assays. RealTimeDesign is meant to help scientists craft custom oligonucleotides averaging 99% in amplification efficiency through a series of different features offered by the software. Some of those features include a direct link to NCBI and BLAST databases as well as a selection of user-modifiable parameters.[6]



Although Biosearch Technologies was founded in 1993, its roots can be traced back to 1979 when it was preceded by Dr. Ronald Cook's first company, Biosearch, Inc. Biosearch, Inc. experienced 9 years of DNA synthesis instrumentation and chemistry by playing a key role in engineering and manufacturing one of the first automated solid-phase DNA synthesis instruments, the SAM I. As time progressed, Biosearch was also able to bring other DNA synthesizers to market such as the Biosearch 8700, Biosearch 8800 Prep, and the Cyclone.

Mergers and Acquisitions[edit]

In 1987, Biosearch was acquired by New Brunswick Scientific[7] who later sold the Biosearch unit to Millipore Corporation in 1988.[8] By 1989, Biosearch was renamed Milligen-Biosearch. Due to the loss of several corporate officers, Milligen-Biosearch was subsequently acquired by PerSeptive Biosystems which in turn was acquired by Applied Biosystems who eventually retired the Biosearch name and products.

After taking a short hiatus, Dr. Cook decided to return to the oligonucleotide industry and founded what is currently known as Biosearch Technologies, Inc.[9] In 2013, Biosearch acquired the oligonucleotide manufacturing arm of DNA Technology and the entirety of VitraBio, a maker of porous glass.[1]

Recognition in PCR research[edit]

When Kary Mullis received the Nobel Prize in 1993 and gave his Nobel Lecture concerning his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method, he gratefully acknowledged Biosearch and Dr. Cook's role in providing him one of the first SAM I DNA synthesizers which was used in support of Kary Mullis' PCR research.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Biosearch eyes European growth with two acquisitions", Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (paper ed.), 33 (6), p. 8, March 15, 2013 
  2. ^ Staff (May 15, 2015). "LGC Acquires Biosearch Technologies". Industry Watch. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. 35 (5). p. 10. 
  3. ^ Glen Research - Black Hole Quencher Webpage
  4. ^ Sigma Aldrich - Black Hole Quencher Webpage
  5. ^,+a+Foundation+of+UMDNJ+Affiliate,+Sells+Interest+in+Longevica+Pharmaceuticals
  6. ^ Genetic Engineering News - RealTimeDesign
  7. ^ New Brunswick Scientific's Company History on
  8. ^ Millipore Corporation's Company History on
  9. ^ The Biosearch Story on
  10. ^ Kary B. Mullis' Nobel Lecture, December 8, 1993

External links[edit]