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Heligenics, Jackson Lab Partner to Study Breast Cancer Gene Variants

NEW YORK — Heligenics said on Tuesday that it has partnered with the Jackson Laboratory to investigate mutations in the ERBB2 breast cancer gene.

Under the terms of the deal, Heligenics will apply its GigaAssay, a massively parallelized platform for assaying molecular functions of single cells in culture, to ERBB2 variants. The resulting data will be included in the Jackson Laboratory's JAX Clinical Knowledgebase, a web-based resource for interpreting cancer genomic profiles.

The Las Vegas-based company said that the partnership aims to identify the impact of thousands of poorly understood ERBB2 mutations and how they cause breast and other cancers, as well as retrospectively analyze how gene mutation/functional library data can improve patient outcomes.

"Heligenics' GigaAssay technology has the potential to advance genomic interpretation," Sara Patterson, manager of clinical analytics and curation at the Jackson Lab, said in a statement. "We are excited for the opportunity to provide large scale interpretation of previously unknown genomic variants to our users, with the hope of connecting patients to relevant treatment options that otherwise may not have been identified."

In late 2019, the Jackson Lab began using Microsoft's artificial intelligence technology to curate the Jax Clinical Knowledgebase.