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Illinois to Use Agena MassArray System for Cystic Fibrosis Screening

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Agena Bioscience said on Tuesday that it has signed a three-year agreement to provide its MassArray system for cystic fibrosis testing to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), as part of the agency's newborn screening program.

Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The MassArray system is designed to detect genetic variation using end-point PCR and label-free mass spectrometry. Agena's cystic fibrosis panel includes more than 70 mutations in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene that have been linked to the disease.

According to Agena, Illinois expanded its newborn testing program to include cystic fibrosis in 2008, focusing on CFTR variants recommended by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Given the diversity of the state's population, the IDPH is now expanding cystic fibrosis screening to include 70 CFTR variants.

"As we observed in this instance, genetic testing panels may need to evolve to account for a number of factors including changes in the regional population," Agena CEO Pete Dansky said in a statement. "The flexibility of the MassArray system will be able to support frontline laboratories such as IDPH to meet the public need for years to come."