febit's next-generation DNA sequencing paves the way for personalised medicine

23 March 2009

febit  has launched its new DNA sequence-capture technology HybSelect. febit says that several biomedical studies conducted by customers with early access to HybSelect have demonstrated superb enrichment factors and deep sequencing coverage for a broad range of human genes and genomic regions.

The  sequence capture technology combines outstanding enrichment and walk-away convenience, and opens up new opportunities in biomarker discovery and the development of personalized medicine.

Declining costs and dramatically higher sequencing output has distinguished the fast-paced genomics market since 2003. Sequencing a human genome, a project that required years and billions of dollars, is now feasible in weeks for thousands of dollars. Nevertheless, conducting statistically relevant biomedical studies with deep sequencing of patient samples is still prohibitively expensive and inefficient.

HybSelect effectively scales next-generation sequencing to the needs of biomedical research and discovery by enabling large-scale studies.

The accessibility and enormous capacity of the next generation sequencers have triggered a heightened demand for sequence capture technologies amongst geneticists: targeted re-sequencing of medically-relevant genome loci will greatly enhance the understanding of health and disease in crucial areas such as cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

The outcomes of such studies are significant in that they will allow improved diagnostics and targeted applications of medical agents.

Peer Staehler, CSO of febit, summarized the advances of febit's latest product: "HybSelect even enables large scale targeted re-sequencing studies because of the high degree of automation combined with the power to detect genetically relevant information in the genome with high efficiency, which can not be met by PCR, or other methods on the market.

"The fully automated HybSelect technology will compel adoption in several ways: short hands-on time (minutes instead of hours), a high degree of reproducibility, and unmatched parallelism in hybselecting several genomic samples at a time."

The proof of concept has been positively confirmed by early access customers. Dr Matthew Huentelman, an investigator and lead collaborator at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, AZ, was one of the first researchers to use HybSelect.

His laboratory uses state-of-the-art techniques to pin-point differences in genes and pathways that contribute to the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease. "We are really excited about the high enrichment factor and the depth of coverage of the targeted sequences that can be achieved using HybSelect from febit. The short hands-on time and ease of use reinforce our intentions to use this new technology for further studies," said Dr. Huentelman.

HybSelect will also be employed in the newly developed Biomarker Discovery Center Heidelberg for the detection of novel tumour markers. Within the European READNA-consortium (Revolutionary Approaches and Devices for Nucleic Acid analysis) HybSelect will support the selection and enrichment of specific gene loci for next generation sequencers.

The new technology is available as a protocol for febit's Geniom RT Analyzer, or as a full service including Next-Gen sequencing from febit. HybSelect is optimized for the Illumina GAII sequencing system, and will be available for other sequencing platforms soon.

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