Under terms of the agreement, Quest Diagnostics has exclusive rights to develop and offer clinical- and research-use laboratory testing services based on Genomic Vision’s molecular combing (also known as DNA combing) technique in the US, India, and Mexico. Genomic Vision will retain rights to market new testing services that emerge from the collaboration’s research and development in Europe (with the exception of the United Kingdom), the Middle East, and Africa. Quest Diagnostics has also made an equity investment for an undisclosed sum in Genomic Vision. Additional terms were not disclosed.
"Genomic Vision’s DNA combing technology is a potential game changer in genomic analysis," said Jay G. Wohlgemuth, MD, VP, science and innovation, Quest Diagnostics. "Similar to how microarrays introduced an entirely new concept to analyze genetic alterations, DNA combing, by facilitating analysis of single DNA molecules, could radically improve our understanding of disease-causing mutations and, in turn, clinical testing and drug development."
DNA combing is an analytical technique that involves stretching coils of DNA into straight chains to facilitate direct high-resolution analysis of targeted areas of the human genome. Developed from research at the Pasteur Institute, the technique detects genetic mutations, most notably large-scale gene rearrangements (in a range of one thousand to over a million DNA base pairs in length), which current DNA analytical technologies cannot detect.
"Quest Diagnostics has a superb track record of turning cutting-edge genetic research and techniques into clinically validated diagnostics," said Founder, CEO and molecular combing inventor Dr. Aaron Bensimon. "Our collaboration with Quest Diagnostics puts molecular combing on track to fulfill its potential to help improve disease detection and new drug development for patients worldwide."
Quest Diagnostics expects to validate and release the first laboratory-developed test based on molecular combing, for aiding the detection of individuals affected with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, in 2012. The companies will also focus on developing tests for cancer and neurological disorders, with testing services to be offered to clients of Quest Diagnostics. Quest Diagnostics may also offer molecular combing-based laboratory testing services for new drug development to pharmaceutical companies through its clinical trials business and for research use to academic institutions, beginning in 2012.
Source: Quest Diagnostics