PRINCETON, NJ--Orchid Biocomputer here announced that it will open a $100 million high-throughput laboratory dedicated to analyzing single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and their relationship to disease and drug response. SNP scoring, the company said, is the key step in correlating the activity of a given set of SNPs against a response to a specific drug, the premise upon which the field of pharmacogenomics is based. Orchid said it expects the lab, currently operating in Baltimore but to be integrated into the new facility here by mid-year, to score millions of SNPs per day by the end of next year.
Dale Pfost, president and CEO of Orchid, said the facility is designed, in part, to dovetail with the emerging centers focused on discovering SNPs championed by academic groups and industrial consortia. "We are complementary to these efforts," said Pfost. "They need SNP scoring once they have discovered the SNP." He added, "Orchid's genotyping facility could eventually rival, if not surpass, the importance of the world's leading sequencing labs working on the Human Genome Project by focusing specifically on gaining intellectual property rights on pharmaceuticals created or improved by patient genotyping."
Participants in Orchid's Clinical Genetics Network will get preferred access to the company's SNP technology. The network is comprised of clinicians and researchers who will provide clinical samples that Orchid will score to determine the presence of SNPs and their role in disease and drug efficacy.