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Life Tech Inks Deal with FDA for Food Safety Testing of E. coli, Salmonella

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Life Technologies announced today a five-year deal with the US Food and Drug Administration aimed at detecting E. coli and Salmonella.

The agreement comprises three projects, Life Tech said, including the design and validation of new food safety tests for detecting and identifying foodborne pathogens. FDA will provide pathogen strains to Life Tech.

Also, the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company will design and validate a complete workflow for detecting food pathogens on the Ion PGM platform, and it will optimize sample preparation methods.

Lastly, FDA will have the chance to evaluate new technology platforms by Life Tech for use in pathogen detection.

Life Tech will independently develop real-time PCR assays against unique E. coli and Salmonella targets in collaboration with the FDA, it said. Results for these targets will be provided to FDA for additional validation.

The FDA will use the Ion PGM to generate whole-genome sequence information from defined bacteria and for strains that are excluded from detection. Life Tech will perform bioinformatics analysis of the genomic information and provide to FDA assays or tests for further validation and analysis.

Whole-genome sequences generated as part of the collaboration will be added to the National Institutes of Health Genbank, where the food safety research community will be able to access them.

FDA will also validate Life Tech's next-generation sequencing technologies for Salmonella investigations "as part of its effort to develop new rapid detection tools that can improve the public health response to future outbreaks," Life Tech said.

In a statement, Nir Nimrodi, VP and GM of food safety and animal health at Life Tech, said the agreement allows FDA "to have new rapid track and trace products for rapid identification of foodborne contaminants."

Life Tech did not disclose financial details of the agreement.