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Incyte, Sequenom Collaborate to Develop Validated SNP Assays

NEW YORK, Oct 2 – Genomic information company Incyte Genomics (Nasdaq: INCY) of Palo Alto, Calif., and Sequenom (Nasdaq: SQNM) of San Diego said Monday that they will collaborate to develop validated single-nucleotide polymorphism assays for use in genetics research.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Incyte will license SNPs to Sequenom, a provider of technology for SNP analysis, for validation using Sequenom’s MassArray product, an automated assay development process and assay database. In return, Sequenom will provide Incyte with access to MassArray and proprietary marker validation strategies.

Sequenom will use the validated SNP information to develop and market 100,000 SNP assays. The company said these assays should help researchers identify SNPs involved in disease and predict associations between SNPs and individual response to medication, said Sequenom.

Sequenom will screen the SNPs against its in-house reference human DNA bank, which contains 16,000 samples selected to represent the general population. The company will provide allele frequencies in four distinct ethnic groups and validate the 100,000 gene-based SNPs for medical utility using a proprietary population genetics approach.

Sequenom and Incyte have agreed to jointly commercialize the resulting intellectual property and expect to form partnership programs for downstream product development.

Researchers using these SNP assays will be able to use Incyte's website to purchase gene sequence and annotation information and clones using its LifeSeq Gene-by-Gene service.

Incyte has developed a proprietary polymorphism detection algorithm to identify SNPs from its LifeSeq Gold database of genes. LifeSeq Gold contains over 120,000 transcribed genes, of which approximately half are proprietary to Incyte and therefore unique.

Incyte said its SNPs are valuable because they are located within genes and are likely to code for changes in gene structure and protein sequence. SNPs that alter a gene's function are useful in understanding the molecular basis for disease and individual response to medication.

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