The National Genomic Medicine Institute of Mexico and Applied Biosystems will develop new pharmacogenomic assays as part of a project to study genes linked to diseases prevalent in Mexican populations.
Any diagnostic assays resulting from the collaboration between INMEGEN and ABI would likely be based on PCR or sequencing, wrote Kim Caple, ABI's director of marketing for genetic analysis, in an e-mail message to Pharmacogenomics Reporter. "Applied Biosystems will work with the data resulting from the discovery phase of the project to identify new TaqMan genomic assays, and/or resequencing primers that are specific and medically relevant to the Mexican and Mexican-American population," she wrote.
The project's discovery phase will use ABI's TaqMan assays to identify "genes of pharmacogenomic interest," and will later resequence a subset of those genes using the company's DNA sequencers. Regarding new disease areas, "I think they're going to start with some of the more prevalent ones, like diabetes and asthma and hypertension, and then move on to some other things that are specific to the Mexican population," said Mike Fitzpatrick, ABI's vice president of global key accounts.
Samples for this initial phase will come from "several hundred" Mexican people, said Caple. But the project will eventually become the largest genotyping study conducted in Latin America, INMEGEN said in a statement.
INMEGEN did not return repeated phone calls for further information.
Applied Biosystems spokespeople declined to disclose financial details.
Established in 2004, INMEGEN operates as part of Mexico's National Institutes of Health to characterize Mexican genetic variation and its effect on common drug responses and the prevalence and progression of genetic and other diseases. The institute's goal is to develop new treatments for diseases common to the approximately 60 Mexican populations.
ABI will set up an eponymous Sequencing and Genotyping Unit at INMEGEN that will be equipped with two DNA Analyzers models 3730 and 3130 one 7900 HT real-time PCR platform, and 10 9700 PCR systems, Caple said. The institute is also an early access customer for ABI's new TaqMan drug-metabolizing enzyme assays, and it will be using the assays for identifying variations in drug response related to treatment for diseases common among the Mexican population, she added.
Two other companies are also associated with INMEGEN units the Affymetrix Gene Expression Analysis Unit and the IBM Bioinformatics Unit. Neither of those two companies are involved in the discovery phase of the project, it said.
Chris Womack ([email protected])