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Quest, Genomic Vision Partner on DNA Combing-based Tests

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Genomic Vision today granted Quest Diagnostics exclusive rights to develop and offer clinical and research-use laboratory testing services for its molecular combing technique in the US, India, and Mexico.

Under the terms of the multi-year deal, Genomic Vision will retain rights to market new testing services resulting from the collaboration in Europe — excluding the UK — the Middle East, and Africa. Quest also has made an equity investment for an undisclosed amount in Genomic Vision.

Molecular combing, also called DNA combing, involves stretching coils of DNA into straight chains in order to enable direct, high-resolution analysis of targeted areas of the human genome. The method, which was developed at the Pasteur Institute, detects genetic mutations, including large-scale gene rearrangements in a range of 1,000 to over 1 million DNA base pairs in length. Other current DNA analytical technologies cannot detect such rearrangements, Quest and Genomic Vision said in a joint statement.

Calling the technology "a potential game changer," Quest VP of Science and Innovation Jay Wohlgemuth said, "Similar to how microarrays introduced an entirely new concept to analyze genetic alterations, DNA combing, by facilitating analysis of single DNA molecules, could radically improve our understanding of disease-causing mutations, and in turn, clinical testing and drug development."

Quest said it anticipates validating and releasing the first laboratory-developed test based on DNA combing in 2012. The test will aid in detecting individuals with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy.

Last year, Genomic Vision, based in Paris, received a $344,000 grant to optimize and validate a test for the disease.

The partners will also develop tests for cancer and neurological disorders, with Quest providing testing services. It may also offer DNA combing-based LDT services for new drug development to drug firms through its clinical trials business and for research use to academic institutions, starting in 2012.