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Orchid, Glaxo to Collaborate on Genome-Wide SNP Project

NEW YORK, Nov. 14 – Orchid BioSciences said Wednesday it had agreed to collaborate with GlaxoSmithKline on a genome-wide SNP-validation program.

Under the terms of the deal, Glaxo will select SNP candidates from Orchid’s database and Orchid will provide high-throughput genotyping information. In addition, Orchid will also develop SNP assays for use in the genome-wide study. 

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"This collaboration focuses on one of the most promising areas of SNP research – the whole genome mapping studies that are setting the stage for the practical application of SNPs," Michael Boyce-Jacino, Orchid’s chief technology officer, said in a statement.

"We expect that this collaboration will strengthen Orchid's rapidly growing portfolio of SNP assays and will contribute significantly to our development of a genome-wide SNP haplotype map, as well as our ability to rapidly analyze entire chromosomes," he said. 

In July, representatives from GlaxoSmithKline, Orchid, and a slew of other companies met at a meeting hosted by the National Human Genome Research Institute to discuss the possibility of developing a public haplotype map of the human genome. 

During the meeting Clive Bowman, worldwide director of population genetics at GlaxoSmithKline, told GenomeWeb that his company was "extremely interested in this approach." He noted that the pharmaceutical giant was considering different approaches to haplotype mapping, including a large internal project, partnering with a biotech company, or working with the proposed public effort. 

Orchid said it expects to select and validate SNPs for the collaboration by the end of the year. In 2002, Orchid said it would screen the SNP assays for the linkage disequilibrium studies.

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