Horizon Discovery, Cambridge, UK, a provider of gene editing and gene modulation technologies, has announced the launch of OncoSpan, a novel cell line-derived multiplex DNA reference standard to support the validation of next-generation sequencing (NGS) assays.

Reportedly the world’s largest multiplexed oncology control, OncoSpan features 385 variants across 152 key cancer genes, and has been specially designed using bioinformatics and droplet digital PCR to help drive faster, easier, and more-complete validation of oncology gene panels and exome sequencing assays. Horizon’s team has extensively characterized the background genome of OncoSpan using high coverage exome sequencing, which is provided to customers as batch-specific exome sequence data.

There are many potential sources of variability that can lead to molecular diagnostic tests providing erroneous results. Horizon’s reference standards offer a source of genetically defined, quantitative, sustainable, and independent third-party reference material, critical to the validation and routine performance monitoring of assays, providing an unprecedented level of control. Horizon reference standards are available in a broad range of formats, including formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) cell line sections, purified genomic DNA (gDNA), and cell-free DNA (cfDNA) on its own or spiked into synthetic plasma.

Horizon is also offering an online companion NGS QC solution called OncoMatic, developed in partnership with Euformatics, Espoo, Finland, to support the large amount of data generated through OncoSpan. Access to OncoMatic will be provided free of charge to all OncoSpan customers. The platform enables customers to upload OncoSpan NGS data after sequencing, automatically assessing the called variants, reporting on variant frequency data, and tracking several different quality metrics per sample.

The combination of OncoSpan and OncoMatic provides laboratorians with access to the most accurate reference standard truth set for use during the establishment and validation of critical NGS bioinformatics pipelines, saving costs and helping to maintain compliance with standards such as those set by the College of American Pathology and EuroGentest.

“Horizon has an established leadership position in the development of genetically defined reference standard materials, drawing on our distinctive ability to drive innovation, both internally and industrywide,” says Darrin M Disley, PhD, CEO of Horizon Discovery Group plc. “The development of large-scale, commutable reference standards for oncology, such as OncoSpan, along with the companion QC tool OncoMatic, will ultimately benefit patients through further enabling the development of personalized therapy solutions. Euformatics has proven to be the ideal partner for this project, and we look forward to collaborating with them on similar ventures in the future.”

For more information, visit Horizon Discovery Group and Euformatics.