This story has been updated from a previous version.
NEW YORK, May 24 - A SNP initiative coordinated by the Japanese government has chosen Third Wave Technologies to provide the assays for analyzing at least 120,000 SNPs in 768 patients, the company said Thursday.
The initiative, which involves the Japanese Institute for Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN), the Japan Biological Informatics Consortium (JBiC), and the University of Tokyo, plans to find up to 150,000 SNPs common to the Japanese population over the next year.
So far, Third Wave has developed assays for 40,000 SNPs using its Invader technology, said Lance Fors, CEO of Third Wave.
"They're now committed to Invader for the balance of the project," said Fors. The project, he added, is potentially worth "tens of millions of dollars' to Third Wave.
Once the Japanese initiative has located its 120,000 to 150,000 SNPs, Third Wave plans to work with the Japanese to make the assays commercially available in a variety of formats, said Fors.
"[The SNPs] need to be organized into flexible formats, such as looking at SNPs within certain genes, or SNPs within certain chromosomes," he said. Although the initiative is searching for SNPs with particular relevance for Japanese, Fors said the genotyping will also uncover SNPs relevant to people of all nationalities.
Third Wave and the SNP initiative will commercialize any technologies that develop from the large-scale SNP analysis, such as miniaturization techniques for developing assays, Fors added.
The goal of the initiative, part of a larger Japanese government project to investigate the human genome, is to discover SNPs and genotyping technology before commercial interests, so that the data does not become intellectual property, said Fors.Last week, Third Wave said that Kaiser Permanente Regional Laboratory Services, the clinical testing facility for the health maintenance organization, agreed to purchase Invader assays to test for SNPs associated with deep vein thrombosis, a potentially fatal complication following surgery.