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Pyrosequencing to Consider Leveraging Sequencer as Diagnostic Tool

NEW YORK, Oct 5 – Erik Wallden, president and CEO of Pyrosequencing of Uppsala, Sweden, said Thursday his company planned to leverage its sequencing technology to create kits that could eventually be used for clinical diagnostic purposes.

“We would be providing the techniques to sequence small-sized pieces of DNA and we would either license the technology or manufacture the kits,” Wallden told GenomeWeb. He did not say when the clinical diagnostic kit would be available for commercialization.

Pyrosequencing currently manufactures the PSQ 96 System, a sequencing system designed for SNP analysis and tag sequencing for genetic identification. On Thursday, the company also announced that two departments of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute had each purchased the system, which sells for $89,000. The system comes with software and reagent kits.

Wallden explained that the PSQ 96 System is based on the company’s proprietary “sequencing-by-synthesis” technique, which enables researchers to sequence strands of DNA in a matter of minutes.

Using the PSQ system, researchers mix a sample of DNA with four enzymes, DNA polymerase, ATP sulfuylase, luciferase, and apyrase, along with substrates adenosine 5 ´ phosphosulfate and luciferin.

The four DNA nucleotides are then added with an ink jet device one at a time. As the base pair aligns with its complement, the reaction releases pyrophosphate. In the presence of adenosine 5´ phosphosulfate, the ATP sulfurylase converts the pyrophosphate to ATP.

The ATP causes the luciferase to convert luciferin to oxyluciferin, generating a visible light in the process. The light is detected by a charge, which is picked up by a computer that records the charge as a peak and a map of the sequence is generated.  

Wallden noted that the main benefits of the system include its ability to rapidly and accurately conduct SNP analysis.

“We’re into qualification, relevance, and utilization,” said Wallden, who previously worked at Applied Biosystems (NYSE: PEB) and PerSeptive Biosystems.  

Wallden said that Pyrosequencing has plans to increase the capacity of the plates the system uses from 96 to 384 wells. The company might also consider developing intellectual property regarding particular diseases, Wallden added.

The company, which currently has 75 employees, had sold 12 systems by the end of the first six months of the year.

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