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Applied Markets Watch: GeneOnyx, DNA Electronics Launch Skincare Test

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Skincare company GeneOnyx last week debuted an over-the-counter genetic analysis test for personalized skincare based on rapid DNA and RNA detection technology developed by partner DNA Electronics.

GeneOnyx launched the test at the Organic Pharmacy's flagship UK store in London.

To perform the test, a skincare specialist takes a saliva sample from the customer. The sample is then placed into the testing device, which purifies DNA and delivers it to a microchip for PCR-based analysis of specific gene signatures.

The microchip is then plugged into a device that links to CosMos, GeneOnyx's cloud-based software, which analyzes the genetic markers to provide a personalized list of skincare products most appropriate and effective for the customer. CosMos includes a database of associations between cosmetic product active ingredients, human genes, and how these compounds are metabolized.

Test results are available within 30 minutes and the test is immediately and securely disposed of, ensuring that no genetic information is retained or stored, the company said.

Driving the test is London-based DNA Electronics' rapid, handheld, semiconductor-based DNA testing platform, called Genalysis. DNA Electronics and GeneOnyx in March inked an agreement granting GeneOnyx access to the technology for over-the-counter genetic testing applications in the cosmetics market (PCR Insider, 3/22/2012).

The Genalysis platform uses technology originally developed at Imperial College London by Chris Toumazou, founder and CEO of DNA Electronics. The technology leverages the discovery that when nucleotide pairs come together during DNA synthesis, they release hydrogen ions, which can be detected as an electrical signal on a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor, or CMOS, chip — technology that in part was later incorporated into Life Technologies' Ion Torrent next-generation sequencing platform.

Genalysis also incorporates proprietary nucleic acid purification methods developed by DNA Electronics, yielding a test cartridge that can be placed directly into an electronic reader such as a USB stick for subsequent analysis.

The company is also developing Genalysis for clinical diagnostic applications, and has in place a collaboration with the laboratory of Eric Topol at Scripps Research Institute in the area of pharmacogenomic analysis for Plavix response; and an infectious disease testing partnership with St. Mary's University College in London.

DNA Electronics' Toumazou noted in a statement that the launch "has huge significance for the application of true point-of-care DNA testing solutions across medical and non-medical markets alike."

The company this week declined to provide an update on the progress of its clinical diagnostic initiatives.

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