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DNA Genotek, Simons Foundation Renew Agreement for Autism Research Initiative

This article has been updated to correct information about the platform through which SPARK data is made available to researchers.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – DNA Genotek announced today that it has renewed a multi-year product supply and fulfillment agreement with the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative for its Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge (SPARK) project.

The project renewal includes usage of DNA Genotek's fully integrated Oragene Dx saliva kits, as well as GenoFIND services for custom collection kit packaging and order fulfillment services.

The SPARK project plans to recruit, engage, and retain a cohort of 50,000 individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as their family members. The project ultimately aims to further understand the science behind the condition and develop treatments to improve the lives of patients with ASD.

SPARK makes genotypic and phenotypic data available to researchers through SFARI Base, a central data repository for information about families affected by autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, provided as part of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI). Other cohorts in SFARI Base include the Simons Simplex Collection, the Simons Variation in Individuals Project, and the Autism Inpatient Collection.

Since SPARK launched in 2016, it has collected close to 61,000 DNA samples using the Oragene-Dx saliva collection kits. 

"SPARK's commitment to expanding access to data for autism research is an important initiative in which we are proud to continue to play a role," DNA Genotek executive VP and molecular business unit leader Brian Smith said in a statement. "This renewal is a tangible sign of the growing value of our integrated sample collection to fulfillment services."

In March, DNA Genotek inked a deal with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to collect microbial samples for inclusion in the Biobank for Microbiome Research in Massachusetts. DNA Genotek also inked a multi-year deal with WeGene in February to supply DNA collection kits in China.

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