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RainDance, Life Tech to Co-Market Target Enrichment, Sequencing Platforms

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RainDance Technologies said today that it has signed an agreement with Life Technologies' Applied Biosystems business to co-market RainDance's microdroplet PCR-based sequence enrichment with ABI's SOLiD second-generation sequencing platform.

Under the agreement, the companies will co-market RainDance's RDT 1000 sequence-enrichment platform with ABI's SOLiD DNA analysis system.

Integrating the technologies will allow researchers to perform "highly efficient, large-scale targeted sequencing studies" with the "superior quality and accuracy of results associated with PCR-based DNA amplification," RainDance said in a statement.

In addition, the companies will work together to apply RainDance products to the SOLiD system sequencing workflow, RainDance said.

"Now researchers can perform high-resolution analysis of genetic variation by combining the high degree of sample uniformity and reduced selection bias of PCR-based enrichment with the greater accuracy, efficiency, and throughput of the SOLiD platform," RainDance Chief Commercial Office Chris McNary said in a statement.

RainDance said that the Translational Genomics Institute is among the first laboratories to couple RainDance's technology with the SOLiD platform. Researchers at TGen used the combined technologies to identify root cause mutations in disease candidate genes and pathways.

"The RainDance and SOLiD technology worked smoothly and offered superb coverage and accuracy," John Carpten, senior investigator and director of the Integrated Cancer Genomics Division at TGen, said in a statement.

Carpten focuses his research on identifying germline variants associated with cancer risk, and somatic mutations occurring in solid tumors and hematological malignancies.

Carpten said that his group has successfully interrogated specific genome regions and identified novel somatic mutations in normal/tumor pairs in "a relatively short period of time." He added that his lab hopes to expand its use of the RainDance and SOLiD platforms to other large-scale resequencing projects.

RainDance's RDT-1000 platform sets up millions of PCR reactions in picoliter-sized droplets and combines them in a single vial for amplification.

The technology has been demonstrated — most recently in a study published in November in Nature Biotechnology — to offer a number of advantages over competing sequence-capture methods, such as standard PCR, molecular inversion probes, or hybridization-based methods.

Earlier this week, Pacific Biosciences announced that RainDance was one of four target-enrichment technology providers that will partner with Pacific Bio ahead of the launch of its third-generation Single Molecule Real Time sequencing platform later this year.

Pacific Biosciences also cited reduced selection bias in PCR-based enrichment as one of the core strengths of RainDance's technology.

McNary told PCR Insider that the company's platform is "agnostic" to all next-generation sequencing platforms on the market, and that RainDance is also currently working with all third-generation sequencing providers.