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Horizon Discovery Establishes Three New Centers of Excellence in Asia

Horizon Discovery (Horizon), a leading provider of research tools to support the development of personalized medicines, recently announced it has established three new Centers of Excellence (CoE’s) for gene editing in Asia. The new Centers are at Aichi Cancer Center, Japan, Seoul National University, South Korea, and the National Cancer Centre (NCC), Singapore. Horizon will support the three research centers in their application of its proprietary gene engineering technology, GENESIS™, to generate human isogenic cell lines harboring specific genes/mutations relating to cancer.

“We are delighted these three new institutes have joined our Centers of Excellence program,” said Dr Rob Howes, Principal Scientist, Horizon. “We are excited to continue expanding our rAAV genome editing network into Asia, and hope to add to this further through 2013.”

The Aichi Cancer Center is Horizon’s second CoE in Japan, and will focus on elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of viral proliferation and oncogenesis of Epstein Barr Virus, as part of the world-wide effort to combat virally-initiated cancers. The principal investigator for this program will be Dr. Takayuki Murata.

Seoul National University, Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics, will work with Horizon to create isogenic cell lines to study the regulatory mechanisms of BubR1 spindle assembly checkpoint, in order to increase understanding of the basis of genetic instability of cancer. Associate Professor Hyunsook Lee will be leading the program for Seoul National University.

Dr Daniel SW Tan, PI at the NCC Singapore, Department of Medical Oncology, will use Horizon’s technology to study the effects on cell lines of cancer-causing EGFR mutations, which are implicated in a wide range of cancer types.

These centers become part of the larger Horizon Centers of Excellence network, which includes high profile Institutions such as Cambridge University, UCL, Yale University, Washington University in St Louis, the NCI in Bethesda, and the National Cancer Centre, Japan.

Source: Business Wire

WaferGen Bio-systems and QIAGEN KK Sign Agreement for Co-Marketing in Japan

WaferGen Bio-systems, Inc. (OTCBB: WGBS) recently announced a co-marketing agreement with QIAGEN KK – a subsidiary of QIAGEN N.V.– for the joint promotion of certain products in Japan in the areas of genomics platforms such as Next-Gen sequencing (NGS) and qPCR. With the joint offering, customers will be able to seamlessly plan and execute complex research projects involving molecular biomarker discovery with NGS, where WaferGen’s SmartChip will offer a powerful platform for high-throughput qPCR-based target validation. The purpose of the commercial relationship is to help life science researchers accelerate the process of developing markers that are potential candidates for molecular diagnostics by adding WaferGen’s SmartChip solution to facilitate biomarker validation. Further customer-facing synergies will be achieved by offering QIAGEN’s PCRarrays on the SmartChip and subsequently compatible NGS panels from QIAGEN.

Stephane Perrey, President of QIAGEN KK stated: “We are looking forward to expanding our portfolio of life science offerings in Japan through the co-marketing of WaferGen’s high-throughput qPCR solution. There is a substantial customer need to ramp up discovery efforts through targeted screening and confirmation, and our integrated approach will provide one-stop shopping for a variety of academic and industrial clients. We will be able to guide customers through the series of steps necessary for an effective biomarker discovery and validation program, by providing both the instrumentation and assays necessary for the accomplishment of their scientific goals. We have successfully evaluated WaferGen’s SmartChip System, and we believe that it can play an important role in our comprehensive product offering.”

“We are extremely pleased to be partnering in a joint commercial effort with QIAGEN to bring our products to the research and industrial communities in Japan,” added Ivan Trifunovich, President and CEO of WaferGen. “Our product lines are highly complementary, together providing a total solution to our customers’ needs. Since our July, 2012 launch of our MyDesign open format instrument, we have received enthusiastically positive reviews from our early test sites and commercial customers in the US and Europe. In conjunction with our highly-regarded partner, we look forward to building on these results in Japan. We are confident that our three-part value proposition – platform flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and no need for pre-amplification – will be strong drivers of customers’ interest,” Trifunovich added.

Under the terms of the agreement, QIAGEN and WaferGen will promote and market each other’s products in Japan, specifically WaferGen’s SmartChip platform and QIAGEN ’s NGS platform which is currently in an advanced stage of development. This breakthrough next-generation benchtop sequencer is one element of QIAGEN’s initiative to create integrated NGS workflows that combine innovative instrumentation and consumables into a sample-to-result offering planned for launch later this year. The two teams will be working closely together in terms of developing the overall strategy and tactical plan that will maximize the commercial opportunity for both companies.

Source: WaferGen

A Urine Test for a Rare and Elusive Disease

A set of proteins detected in urine by researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital may prove to be the first biomarkers for Kawasaki disease, an uncommon but increasingly prevalent disease which causes inflammation of blood vessels that can lead to enlarged coronary arteries and even heart attacks in some children. If validated in more patients with Kawasaki disease, the markers could make the disease easier to diagnose and give doctors an opportunity to start treatment earlier.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Enters into a Long-Term Agreement with Fujirebio Inc. to Strengthen Availability of Biomarker Procalcitonin (PCT)

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, recently announced it has signed a long-term license agreement with Fujirebio Inc. to make its biomarker assay Procalcitonin (PCT) available on the Lumipulse™ family of laboratory instruments, using the chemiluminescent enzyme immunoassay (CLEIA) technology. The agreement focuses on Japan, where Fujirebio’s Lumipulse product line is placed in a significant number of hospitals and clinical reference labs and will be extended with future placements of Lumipulse platforms in other markets worldwide.

Biomarker Progress Offers Hope for Early Autism Spectrum Disorder Detection

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are neurodevelopmental disorders typically characterized by difficulties in social interactions and delayed or abnormal language development. Although ASD reportedly affects 1 in 88 people in the United States, to date there have been no distinctive biomarkers to diagnose the disease. In a special themed issue of Disease Markers, investigators report on the current understanding of ASD genetics and the possibilities of translating genetic research toward biomarker development in ASD.