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CosmosID, BioCollective Collaborate on Microbiome Analysis Kit

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – CosmosID said today that it is partnering with the BioCollective to develop a comprehensive whole-genome shotgun sequencing-based microbiome analysis kit and software that will provide high resolution identification and characterization of microorganisms in the gut.

CosmosID offers software for rapidly identifying microorganisms for infectious disease diagnosis, public health surveillance, and food safety inspections, among other applications. The Biocollective said it aims to develop a market-based approach to research into managing and treating chronic diseases, cancer, and obesity.

The kit that they have developed will help researchers identify pathogenic species and strains in their samples. The kit — which covers bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, as well as antibiotic resistance and virulence factors — will provide researchers and individuals with "a full understanding of their microbiomes," CosmosID Founder Rita Colwell said in a statement. The partners are charging an introductory price of $299 for the kit, including sample collection, storage, DNA preparation, sequencing, and metagenomics analysis. The kit's standard price will be $499.

Both companies are also involved in the recently launched National Microbiome Initiative. The Biocollective, in partnership with the Health Ministries Network, has pledged to invest $250,000 to build a microbiome sample bank for whole, preserved, characterized, and divided samples from donors. The funds will cover the costs of sample collection kits, and sample and data storage. The company plans to start by collecting 1,000 samples from patients with sickle cell disease and individuals that are carriers of the genetic trait. 

CosmosID, meanwhile, has partnered with the Mayo Clinic and other companies to launch the so-called Microbiome Coalition, which aims to promote a greater understanding of the role of the microbiome in human health and support efforts to translate findings in microbiome research in to diagnostics, therapeutics, and direct-to-consumer products.

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