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Life Tech Working with Partners to Develop HLA Applications for PGM

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Life Technologies said late Wednesday it is working with partners to develop applications for the Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine in human leukocyte antigen analysis, which is essential for determining organ transplant compatibility.

Life Tech said it intends to enter into a sponsored research agreement with the Histocompatibility, Immunogenetics, and Disease Profiling Laboratory at the Stanford School of Medicine Department of Pathology.

The company added that Howard Martin of Addenbrookes Hospital-Cambridge in the UK has started using the PGM platform with novel informatics strategies to obtain effective reads of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) using existing chemistries. MHC is a group of genes that code HLAs.

Life Tech estimated the transplant diagnostics market at about $400 million globally. In addition to the Ion Torrent platforms, the company offers its Invitrogen SeCore HLA Sequencing System for HLA typing. GenomeWeb Daily News' sister publication Clinical Sequencing News reported in August that the company submitted its 3500 Dx Genetic Analyzer capillary electrophoresis sequencer and its SeCore HLA typing kit for 510(k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration.

Life Tech has also signaled its intent to move into the clinical space with its Ion Torrent business, and during its fourth-quarter earnings conference call, the company said its plans to partner with diagnostic companies to develop clinical applications for the Ion Torrent technology. Chairman and CEO Greg Lucier said on the call that in addition to the PGM machine, Life Tech had begun work with customers on a potential application of its ION Proton system for HLA sequencing, CSN reported.

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