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SEQUENOM Collaborates With HPA to Apply MassARRAY™ Technology in Pathogen Analysis

SEQUENOM, Inc. have announced a pathogen analysis research collaboration with the Health Protection Agency (HPA) in London to apply their MassARRAY technology in the genetic identification and differentiation of microbes, including major human pathogens such as Neisseria meningitides.

The goal of the collaboration is to discover and develop robust genetic markers that differentiate pathogenic from nonpathogenic strains of these microbes.

SEQUENOM's method for pathogen identification and differentiation on its MassARRAY platform was published in the January 2004 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. The Company's Comparative Sequencing technology was used for signature sequence-based identification of mycobacteria, which include potentially lethal pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a microbe that causes more than 2 million deaths per year worldwide.

Charles Cantor, Ph.D., SEQUENOM's Chief Scientific Officer said, "Considering the vital risks associated with outbreaks, it is essential to rapidly detect truly pathogenic strains of bacteria and protect against their spread. The unique specificity and scalability of the MassARRAY technology is ideally suited for discovering the necessary markers and for subsequently using them in large-scale testing. This collaboration represents a key step toward developing assay panels that will make the MassARRAY system a world-class standard for microbial identification."

"New informative marker sets are desperately needed to differentiate pathogenic from non-pathogenic strains for many bacteria," said Prof. Saheer Gharbia, Head of Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics at the HPA. "We believe that our extensive archives of pathogenic bacterial DNA and expertise in the characterization of infectious agents together with SEQUENOM's technology and platform will allow rapid and novel developments in this area. This approach will also enable us to link decades of traditional molecular and serological (antibody-based) typing information with the genetic changes underlying pathogenesis."

Note: The HPA is a national organization for England and Wales, similar to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States.

Reference: "Novel Mass Spectrometry-Based Tool for Genotypic Identification of Mycobacteria," Michael Lefmann et al, J. Clin. Microbiol. 2004. 42: 339-346

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Source : Sequenom Inc. View Company Information

Posted on January 26, 2004