Luminex, Exiqon announce microRNA agreement

Exiqon will develop and manufacture microRNA products on behalf of the Luminex Bioscience Group, based on Luminex’s xMAP technology and Exiqon’s Locked Nucleic Acid technology.

Jeffrey Bouley
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AUSTIN, Texas—Luminex Corp., a multiplex solu­tion developer, has agreed to co-develop and com­mercialize microRNA products with Copenhagen-based Exiqon A/S, a supplier of high-value gene expression analysis products.
Financial terms were not released, but under the terms of the deal, Exiqon will develop and manufacture microRNA products on behalf of the Luminex Bioscience Group, based on Luminex's xMAP technology and Exiqon's Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) technology.
"Combining the ease-of-use and high multi­plexing capacity of the Luminex xMAP platform with the high sensitivity and specificity of our LNA probes will result in a unique product offer­ing," says Lars Kongsbak, president and CEO of Exiqon. "Luminex xMAP instruments hold a sig­nificant share of detection platforms in the life sciences industry in both the research and clinical settings. This collaboration will ensure our high­ly specific microRNA detection chemistries are broadly available to this market segment, which is an important strategic accomplish­ment for Exiqon."
Patrick J. Balthrop, Luminex president and CEO, agrees that his company's reach in the mar­ketplace already is a huge boon to both companies moving forward.
"We announced in 2005 that we were going to be embarking on new R&D efforts through our Luminex Bioscience Group, well beyond our current R&D focus," Balthrop says. "We plan to work with Exiqon and other partners to really take advantage of the fact that we have 3,700 systems that we have shipped out over the years. That means access to instruments will be relatively straightforward for many researchers, and they won't necessarily have to buy a new piece of equipment to take advantage of what our microRNA product can do for them."
Assumed to have widespread effects on gene regulation, microRNAs have already been found to have important roles in several types of cancers and in processes involved in cellu­lar differentiation, notes Randel S. Marfin, vice president of the Luminex Bioscience Group. LNAs are a class of nucleotide analogue that binds very strongly to RNA and DNA targets and by includ­ing LNAs in detection probes, it is possible to design very specific high-affinity detection assays for small RNA targets like microR­NAs, he says—targets that oth­erwise would not be possible to reach using standard DNA-based detection probes.
"With the combined Luminex and Exiqon technology and its high reliability, we can take what might have been a few days or a couple weeks or even a month of experimentation down to just a few hours," Marfin says. "That's a critical issue for companies in the drug discovery space because time saved is money saved."

Jeffrey Bouley

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