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Affymetrix and Tessarae Collaborate to Develop Pathogen-Detection Kit

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Affymetrix Inc. has announced that it has granted Tessarae Inc. non-exclusive access to its microarray technology to develop and market epidemiological research tests for public health and biodefense surveillance.

According to Affymetrix, as part of the Powered by Affymetrix™ program, the TessArray™ kits will detect and identify hundreds of strains of natural and emergent viral and bacterial pathogens, as well as biothreat agents. The resulting information will enable researchers to understand and respond to pandemic infectious disease threats.

The TessArray kits are based on multiplexed genotypic signatures present on the Affymetrix CustomSeq® Resequencing Arrays. These arrays have been designed and fabricated to detect a set of upper respiratory pathogen-specific target sequences provided by the United States Naval Research Laboratory.

Public health officials can use the resulting information to identify the most likely agent strain(s) associated with disease outbreaks.

Tessarae President and Co-Founder Klaus Schafer, M.D., M.P.H., said, "Investigators at collection sites can determine whether detected pathogen strains warrant elevated epidemic or pandemic concerns. The TessArray kits enable a level of strain and sub-strain discrimination not possible with other array-based methodologies, as well as the ability to detect and characterize novel nucleotide changes in the pathogen genome sequence at the same time."

"With the recent emergence of new infectious diseases such as avian influenza, it is important for global health organizations to have access to comprehensive epidemiological surveillance research tools," said Robert Lipshutz, Ph.D., senior vice president, Corporate Development and Emerging Markets at Affymetrix.

"We are pleased to have Tessarae join our Powered by Affymetrix program and we anticipate that the availability of these types of microarray-based testing kits and services will allow epidemiologists to better monitor the spread of pathogens and detect mutations that may alter their potential to cause a pandemic."