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LifeCodexx to Develop Sequencing-Based Preeclampsia Test; Considers PacBio RS as Assay Platform

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This article was originally published May 12.

LifeCodexx of Germany and its parent company GATC Biotech are developing a next-gen sequencing-based diagnostic test for the early detection of preeclampsia, the firms said last week.

The test will detect cell-free fetal DNA as an early marker of the hypertension condition, which affects about two to five percent of pregnancies in Germany and is the leading cause of death in pregnant women.

GATC Biotech has ordered a Pacific BioSciences PacBio RS instrument, which the companies plan to investigate for use in their test protocol. By using the single-molecule sequencing platform, "costs and duration of the diagnostic test could be drastically reduced," said Peter Pohl, GATC's CEO and chairman of LifeCodexx, in a statement.

The project has received €500,000 ($710,000) in funding over two years from the German Federal Ministry for Research and Education's KMU Innovation Program.

The preeclampsia test is the second sequencing-based diagnostic test that LifeCodexx, which is based in Constance, is working on. The firm is also developing a non-invasive prenatal diagnostic test for trisomy 21 (CSN 4/19/2011), which it hopes to launch by the end of the year. That test uses an Illumina sequencing platform.

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