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Transgenomics' CEO said these first forays into next-gen sequencing don't represent a shift in the company's strategy, which has so far been focused on Sanger sequencing and PCR technologies for molecular diagnostics.

The patent application was filed by Montefiore Medical Center's Sanjay Goel and John Mariadason, who discovered the association between mutations in the PIK3CA and PTEN genes and a lack of response to EGFR inhibitors.

The technology from Montefiore Medical Center relates to tumor-specific mutations in the genes PIK3CA and PTEN that can be useful in predicting patient non-response to EGFR inhibitors.

A Transgenomic official said the company has signed deals "for a number of significant high-value projects" with pharmaceutical firms, which promise to "swell the [segment to] $1.5 million or more in the second quarter, plus [bring in] significant revenues throughout the remainder of the year."

The addition of Clinical Data's genetic testing business in December was the primary growth driver.

Transgenomic's BrS/J-Wave test, Life Technologies' 3500 Dx Series Genetic Analyzer

The new method, called BLOCker sequencing, uses blocking oligos to increase the sensitivity of Sanger sequencing for specific mutations, for example in tumors or viral populations.

Product Watch: Apr 14, 2011

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Life Tech's Ion OneTouch system; Transgenomic's Surveyor Scan BRAF and PIK3CA mutation-detection kits.

An expanded license with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for an offshoot of its Cold-PCR technology allows Transgenomic to develop kits that can detect mutations in common cancer-related genes such as KRAS and P53 directly from blood samples and then analyze the variants using multiple sequencing approaches.

COLD-PCR selectively amplifies mutant PCR "by recognizing that mutant DNA strands denature at lower temperatures in a PCR reaction than normal DNA," and Ice COLD-PCR further enhances the sensitivity of mutation detection.

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Stephen Hahn, the nominee to lead the US Food and Drug Administration, underwent a Senate confirmation hearing yesterday, the Washington Post reports.

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved an RNA interference drug to treat acute hepatic porphyria.

Gizmodo looks over the past decade of consumer DNA testing to find the field to be lacking.

In Nature this week: native RNA sequencing and analysis of a human poly(A) transcriptome, nanopore sequencing-based method to analyze short tandem repeat expansions, and more.