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UPDATE: Pyrosequencing Teams With Hospital to Develop Diagnostics

NEW YORK, June 18 - In another move towards entering the diagnostics market, Pyrosequencing said Monday it had signed a research agreement with The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to analyze genes associated with deafness. 

Pyrosequencing, of Uppsala, Sweden, which initially positioned its sequencing technology to exploit the research market, has said repeatedly that it is hoping to develop diagnostic products. Last month, the company said it had been awarded a patent for applying its technology to assessing cardiovascular conditions such as myocardial infarction and stroke.

The agreement with The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) will target the Connexin 26 gene, a gene with mutations associated with 65 percent of autosomal recessive non-syndromic hearing loss. Researchers at the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at CHOP will use Pyrosequencing's sequencing technology to screen patients with this type of deafness to analyze mutations in the Connexin 26 gene. 

The team at CHOP will also screen patients for a genetic mutation associated with hearing loss in children treated with aminoglyside antibiotics, the company said. 

Erik Wallden, CEO of Pyrosequencing, told GenomeWeb that he hopes to find other academic partners to help validate the potential of his company's technology as a diagnostic tool. Pyrosequencing's technology has a "set of features attractive for diagnostics," he said, "but it has to be validated and that why we're collaborating."

Pyrosequencing has a US-based business development team that is actively searching out opportunities to develop diagnostic tools, Wallden said, so it's "reasonable to expect more of these types of collaborations," he said.

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