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NuGEN and Caliper partner to eliminate NGS sample prep bottlenecks
March 2011
by Lloyd Dunlap  |  Email the author


HOPKINTON, Mass.—NuGEN Technologies Inc. and Caliper Life Sciences Inc. have announced a co-marketing agreement for the development of automated methods for next-generation sequencing (NGS) sample preparation on Caliper's Sciclone NGS Workstation.  
The collaboration aims to enable researchers to leverage NuGEN's Ovation and Encore reagent solutions on Caliper's liquid handling platforms to automate the processing of a wide range of sample types such as nucleic acids extracted from sorted cells, fine needle aspirates, formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue and other limited and compromised clinical samples.  
The collaboration is the first between the two companies but was "a natural fit," says Kevin Hrusovsky, president and CEO of Caliper, because it provides both companies with the ability to extend market reach and create revenue opportunities beyond their direct product offerings.  
Caliper had already developed a complete suite of solutions for NGS applications "aimed to reduce manual manipulations, increase throughput and improve sample-to-sample consistency. The collaboration provided Caliper with access to NuGEN's innovative and versatile sample preparation reagents to enable Caliper to address an even broader range of NGS applications," Hrusovsky adds.  
The agreement calls for Caliper and NuGEN to first co-develop automation scripts for NuGEN's Ovation RNA-Seq System and Encore NGS Multiplex System I on Caliper's Sciclone NGS Workstation to provide end-to-end, high-throughput library construction from as little as 500 pg of total RNA. The automation scripts will be jointly developed and some equipment modifications will be required.
"The methods will be developed on the Sciclone NGS platform," Hrusovsky notes, which do not require any modification for method development. 
Caliper will distribute the jointly developed methods to its Sciclone NGS customer base. The automation solution is scheduled to be available before the end of March after having been introduced at the 2011 Advances in Genome Biology and Technology (AGBT) conference in February. The Sciclone NGS Workstation can be integrated with Caliper's LabChip GX, which is an analytical QC platform, and the LabChip XT, a preparative nucleic acid fractionation platform, for extended hands- off automation. Additional applications will follow, the partners say.
Caliper's liquid handling platforms can be integrated with the company's LabChip GX, which is an analytical QC platform, and the LabChip XT, a preparative nucleic acid fractionation platform, to accelerate high-throughput amplification, fragmentation and library preparation, which removes key bottlenecks in sequencing workflows and enables researchers to produce high-quality libraries for a wide range of sequencing applications, including RNA-Seq, digital gene expression, whole genome and exome sequencing.
"NuGEN's Ovation RNA-Seq System is the first RNA-Seq preparation kit without any requirement for poly(A) selection or ribosomal RNA depletion," says Elizabeth Hutt, CEO of NuGEN Technologies. "Working from total RNA reduces the bias inherent in the selection steps, and results in a more complete data set and a more comprehensive understanding of the transcriptome, including non-coding RNAs. Our sample preparation capabilities nicely complement Caliper's Sciclone NGS Workstation to provide our customers with a streamlined workflow and easy access to the most advanced sample preparation technologies."
The collaboration is primarily centered on RNA applications, particularly with respect to NuGEN's amplification technologies, Hrusovsky says. Future development will also include DNA sequencing library preparation, he notes.

Caliper teams up with U of Miami to automate next-gen sequencing workflows  

HOPKINTON, Mass.—Caliper Life Sciences Inc. also announced last month a collaboration with the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG) at the University of Miami in which the parties will develop automated protocols for exome capture and library preparation workflows.
Founded in 2007, HIHG is engaged in research on genetic influences on humans and is translating the Human Genome Project into information that can benefit patients directly. HIHG has also been an early access partner for the recently released, high-sensitivity assay for Caliper's LabChip GX platform.
"At HIHG, we conduct genetic studies that contribute to the better understanding of inherited genetic diseases and disorders," says Dr. John Gilbert, professor and director of the Center for Genome Technology at HIHG. "With our recent implementation of higher capacity sequencing technologies, and our focus on exome sequencing projects, sample preparation has become a bottleneck. We are actively working with Caliper to automate multiple steps of this process and increase our overall sequencing throughput." Further details were not disclosed by press time.
Code: E031110



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