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Hematogenix Employs Agena MassArray Platform in New iDNAfy Oncology Molecular Profiling Service


NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Hematogenix, a Tinley, Ill.-based molecular testing services company, earlier this month introduced a new offering called iDNAfy to provide oncology clients with information for tailoring cancer therapies for their patients.

CEO Hytham Al-Masri told BioArray News that the firm is using Agena Bioscience's MassArray platform to support the iDNAfy service, along with other technologies, including fluorescence in situ hybridization and PCR, to deliver comprehensive tumor molecular profiling information to its customers.

"As we move into a new landscape of cancer genomics, it is important to identify mutations in a patient's genome that will guide treatment options," said Al-Masri of iDNAfy. "It also provides prognostic information and in many cases might determine the patient's eligibility to participate in ongoing clinical trials."

Offered through Hematogenix's diagnostic services division, iDNAfy joins a menu of other tests based on flow cytometry, PCR, and FISH. To round out its tumor profiling approaches, though, the firm recently adopted Agena's MassArray platform in part because of its turnaround time.

"We chose this system after much research, and one of the prevailing reasons was the ability to provide high throughput and fast turnaround for our clinicians which have in their practice an anxious patient that we can work together to help," said Al-Masri.

San Diego-based Agena paid $31.8 million last month to acquire Sequenom's genetic analysis business, which included the MassArray technology andproducts. MassArray is a mass spectrometry-based platform for measuring genetic target material and variations that is widely seen as a competitor with other multiplex technologies.

Al-Masri noted that the introduction of iDNAfy "complements our other offering by keeping a comprehensive test menu utilizing multiple cutting edge technologies." He added that it will allow the firm to "stay competitive."

Hematogenix is marketing the new service as a "holistic approach to guided therapies by screening and confirming high-relevance somatic mutations," Al-Masri noted. He said that the targeted identification of these mutations in tumor suppressors and key oncogenes will "provide crucial information for the oncologist to use as a guide when deciding on the appropriate therapies and personalized cancer treatments for their patients."

The company also believes that information gleaned from the service will "help connect patients' tumors with the appropriate drug of choice by their physician," and that the reports it produces in connection with the service "will assist in matching them with innovative clinical trials," Al-Masri said.

Hematogenix's iDNAfy service is the third new offering from the CLIA-compliant lab in the past year.

In February, it began offering BioMérieux's THxID‐BRAF companion diagnostic, a test that oncologists use to select patients who may benefit from BRAF-directed and MEK‐directed companion therapy. The company has also made the real-time PCR-based ThxID-BRAF test, which is run on the Applied Biosystems 7500 Fast Dx System, available for use in clinical trials.

Last November, Hematogenix also announced the availability of Advanced Cell Diagnostics' RNAscope in situ hybridization for its clients, a technology that provides drug developers and physicians an alternative method to identify and quantify analytes in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded material.

And the company continues to have an appetite for new tests and technologies. Al-Masri said that Hematogenix aims to add sequencing-based tests to its menu of services later this year.