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Boehringer, Eurofins Ink DNA Biobanking, PGx Data Analysis Alliance

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Boehringer Ingelheim and Eurofins Medigenomix announced earlier this month that they would work together on a DNA banking effort. The partnership between the two firms also extends to Eurofins providing pharmacogenomic services to Boehringer in its drug development trials.

According to the terms of the deal, Eurofins will support Boehringer's central DNA bank at Biberach an der Riss, Germany. Boehringer collects and banks blood samples routinely as part of its drug development clinical trials, so these samples may be drawn upon for PGx clinical trials at some stage.

"On behalf of Boehringer many thousands of blood samples per year will be processed at Eurofins using a fully automated robot-based system," Eurofins said in a statement.

The automated process consists of extracting genomic DNA from blood samples, and then normalizing and aliquoting them into plates. Then Eurofins ships these plates with DNA samples to the Biberach facility, where they are stored frozen in the DNA bank, which has the capacity to hold several million samples, according to Eurofins.

Under the PGx services portion of the partnership, Eurofins will help Boehringer's Pharmacogenomics Unit analyze samples stored in its DNA bank as part of the drug developer's drug trials.

According to an Eurofins spokesperson, the manufacturing service agreement for pharmacogenetic and pharmacogenomic services cover different kinds of offerings, including genotyping. "For genotyping we are using diverse technologies, such as sequencing," the spokesperson added.

Eurofins offers comprehensive genomic analysis services to pharmaceutical companies, including DNA/RNA preparation, genotyping, polymorphism screening, mutation and biomarker analysis, expression analysis, assay development and validation, transcriptome analysis, metagenomic approaches, and marker discovery.

Boehringer has so far publicly announced one drug that it is personalizing with a PGx strategy. Qiagen subsidiary DxS is working with Boehringer to develop an EGFR test for the investigational non-small cell lung cancer drug BIBW2992 (PGx Reporter 06/24/09).

It seems likely that Boehringer is developing other personalized medicine drugs in its pipeline, plans for which the company has not yet announced. According to the Eurofins spokesperson, its collaboration with Boehringer "does not focus on one specific drug, it rather includes the processing of samples coming from different therapy areas."

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