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Hummingbird Diagnostics, Saarland University Form Biomarker Validation Partnership

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Hummingbird Diagnostics and Saarland University announced today that they have formed a collaboration to validate blood-based microRNAs as biomarkers for the early detection of pulmonary and neurodegenerative diseases.

The partners plan to analyze at least 5,000 samples from patients with lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. A framework agreement between them will then regulate the procedures of any resulting collaborative projects, as well as the use of results, publications, software, and intellectual property rights. Hummingbird has also acquired rights to eight undisclosed patents.

The partnership builds on an ongoing relationship between Heidelberg, Germany-based Hummingbird and Saarland professors Andreas Keller and Eckart Meese. This year, company and university researchers published details of a web-based tool for miRNA next-generation sequencing data, as well as a workflow for profiling miRNAs from dried blood spot samples. 

"Together with the teams of [Keller and Meese], we successfully identified many miRNAs from blood that may contribute to patient-friendly methods for early disease detection," Hummingbird CEO Jochen Kohlhaas said in a statement. "The new agreement enables us to collaboratively address further disease areas."