Adding more PDQ and A-OK for qPCR

Exiqon and MultiD sign development and distribution agreement to provide specifically adapted microRNA qPCR analysis solution

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark—Exiqon A/S, a provider of microRNA analysis products and services, and Gothenburg, Sweden-based MultiD Analyses AB, a developer of comprehensive software solutions for qPCR data analysis, recently announced a development and distribution agreement incorporating a specifically adapted version of the GenEx qPCR analysis software for Exiqon's new microRNA qPCR platform. The agreement allows Exiqon to sell a fully compatible and comprehensive data analysis solution to complete their microRNA qPCR offering.

"The partnership between MultiD and Exiqon has lead to the development of a customized version of the advanced GenEx data analysis program, which has been specifically adapted to allow easy pre-processing and analysis of data from the Exiqon microRNA PCR panels and assays," says Henrik M. Pfundheller, vice president of sales and marketing for Exiqon.

He says in his opinion, Exiqon already offers the best performing qPCR reagents for microRNA expression profiling on the market, but he and the rest of Exiqon's management also recognized the need to do more anyway.

"We feel it is just as important that our customers process, normalize and analyze their qPCR data properly and with confidence," Pfundheller says. "The addition of the Exiqon GenEx software to our microRNA qPCR portfolio enables customers to get the most out of their microRNA expression profiling experiments in an easy and convenient way."

MultiD's executives note that the pre-processing of raw data for subsequent statistical analysis is possibly the most important part of qPCR experiments.

"Pre-processing steps need to be performed with consistency, in the correct order and with confidence," the company notes. "GenEx has a streamlined, and user-friendly interface which aids data handling. Together with our step-by-step guide to data analysis, GenEx ensures that you get the most out of your qPCR data."

"We have developed a special Plate Design module which enables Exiqon's customers to design their qPCR experiment in silico and generate templates for import into their real-time PCR instrument," says Mikael Kubista, chairman of MultiD. "These templates also allow fast and easy import of the results into GenEx for pre-processing and analysis. The Exiqon GenEx software really streamlines the experimental process from planning through generation of results to data analysis."

The companies report that the GenEx software is also intuitive and easy to use, and in addition to easy data import, it is also much simpler to merge data, classify data, design PCR experiments and more using the specialized software.

Also, Kubista notes, with the notion in mind of allowing for "accurate and robust normalization of qPCR data," GenEx has the benefit of incorporating both NormFinder and GeNorm in the software. This allows users to have two algorithms on which to base their choice of reference genes, combined in one software installation.

GenEx also offers advanced statistical solutions for post-normalization data analysis, Kubista reports. Right now, some of the more notable features on that front include parametric and non-parametric statistical tests, clustering methods, principal component analysis and artificial neural networks.

Looking to the value of this particular corporate pairing on the hardware side, the companies note that Exiqon's miRCURY LNA Universal RT microRNA PCR system offers "the best available combination of performance and ease-of-use on the microRNA real-time PCR market."

The use of two LNA-enhanced PCR primers results in both exceptional sensitivity and specificity, they note, enabling both accurate quantification of very low microRNA levels and discrimination between closely related microRNA sequences. Also, the universal RT step greatly reduces sample input requirements and technical variation, saving time in the laboratory.

The companies also note that the GenEx qPCR analysis software is available for download on a 30-day free trial basis.

MultiD calls the GenEx offering its second "unique product," after the DATAN product that it created to analyze spectroscopic data. Company officials say that MultiD Analyses AB was the first company with a focus on multidimensional data analyses, founded in 2001 by leading scientists and software engineers from Swedish universities who discovered that three-dimensional data may under certain circumstances "be decomposed into contributions from component specific contributions without making non-trivial assumptions," a factor which is said to "open totally new possibilities to analyze test samples and study chemical equilibrium."

The company's main competencies are in the areas of spectroscopy, fluorescence detection, data and numerical analysis, chemometry, computing, software engineering and real-time PCR.

For its part, Exiqon notes that while it operates in two business areas, life sciences and diagnostics, both areas share a single focus (the promise of microRNA as biological markers) and one technology platform (the proprietary Locked Nucleic Acid detection technology).

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