Genomic Vision to Extend its Strategic R&D Alliance with Quest Diagnostics
News Jun 14, 2013
Genomic Vision has announced an extension of its strategic alliance agreement with U.S.-based Quest Diagnostics, the world's leading provider of diagnostic information services.
Under the agreement, Quest Diagnostics will invest in the planned development of a lab-developed test for a hereditary genetic disease.
The company will also collaborate with Genomic Vision to automate the testing process and improve turnaround times for tests that employ DNA combing, a technique from Genomic Vision. Additional terms were not disclosed.
"This development is based on the complementary nature of our expertise. The new automated process will help leverage the potential of DNA combing for testing of large populations, which in turn may help improve detection of diseases such as certain cancers and neurological disorders ", stated Aaron Bensimon, CEO of Genomic Vision.
"This development program should make an automated platform available to our customers by the end of 2013, increasing the throughput of our current platform by an order of magnitude", explained Dr. Bensimon.
Genomic Vision and Quest Diagnostics announced a strategic alliance agreement in July 2011 giving Quest exclusive rights in the United States and certain other territories to develop and sell diagnostic tests based on Genomic Vision's molecular combing technology.
Quest Diagnostics (7.4 billion dollars in 2012 revenues with 41,000 employees) has also taken an equity stake in the French biotech company.
Since that time, Quest Diagnostics has adapted the molecular combing technique to a commercial laboratory, streamlined and automated processes and successfully validated an improved molecular combing assay for the genetic disorder facio-scapulo-humeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). Quest Diagnostics expects to launch the FSHD lab-developed test this summer.
Quest Diagnostics is also exploring market opportunities for a lab-developed test for Lynch Syndrome, which genetically predisposes an individual to colorectal cancer, based on DNA combing.
In 2012, Genomic Vision launched its first test in Europe designed to diagnose facio-scapulo-humeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), the second most prevalent muscular dystrophy disorder affecting 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 20,000 people.
As genome editing technologies advance toward clinical therapies, they are raising hopes of a completely new way to treat disease. However, challenges need to be addressed before potential treatments can be widely used in patients. To tackle these challenges, the National Institutes of Health has launched the Somatic Cell Genome Editing program, which has awarded multiple grants including more than $3.6 million to assess the safety of genome editing in human cells and tissues.