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PopGenTech Receives $1.2M from Wellcome Trust for Alzheimer's Study with Cardiff University

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Population Genetics Technologies has received $1.2 million from the Wellcome Trust to study genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's disease in collaboration with researchers at Cardiff University in Wales, the company said this week.

During the two-year study funded under the award, PopGenTech will use its proprietary DNA selection and tagging technology to study rare variants in genes believed to be involved in Alzheimer's in patient samples.

The genes were previously identified in a large-scale genome-wide analysis of common genetic variants by the Cardiff University researchers and their collaborators. The study results "are expected to validate the PopGenTech methods" as well as uncover new rare genetic variants, according to the firm.

Founded in 2005 by Sydney Brenner, Applied Biosystems-founder Sam Eletr, and others, PopGenTech has been developing a sample prep technology that allows users to both tag individual DNA samples in a mixture and to select DNA regions of interest, prior to next-generation sequencing (IS 9/22/2008). According to the company, the technology will "reduce dramatically the costs of performing large-scale population studies on next-generation sequencing platforms while allowing the detection and characterization of rare allelic variations in disease phenotypes."

The company raised approximately $7.5 million in first-round venture capital in 2008. This March, it won an undisclosed amount of grant funding from the UK's National Institute of Health Research for a study to assess the link between rare sequence variants in 1,000 breast cancer patients and response to different types of chemotherapy.

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