Mutually assured success

Harvard Catalyst and HTG team up on miRNA assays

Jeffrey Bouley
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TUCSON, Ariz.—High Throughput Genomics Inc. (HTG), a player in the personalized medicine arena and provider of the quantitative Nuclease Protection Assay (qNPAT) system, recently announced a collaboration agreement with researchers at Harvard Catalyst Laboratory for Innovative Translational Technologies (HC-LITT) at Harvard Medical School.

Under the terms of the agreement, HTG and HC-LITT will work on a novel microRNA (miRNA) biogenesis assay that can measure expression of pre-miRNA, mature-miRNAs and regulated RNA using HTG's qNPAT technology.

"There are two things happening with the Harvard Catalyst Lab deal, the first being that they are doing validation studies on microRNA and qNPA-based arrays and applying those to their internal programs as we go out and try to get those arrays to market," says Dr. Bruce E. Seligmann, founder and CSO for HTG. "Then they will be doing the same thing with mid-density miRNA arrays; they will use them internally, and we will work to bring them to market for other researchers and drug developers."

What HTG will market will be the "next generation" arrays rather than the "beta" arrays HC-LITT is starting off with, Seligmann notes.

"They are, in a sense, a test lab for us," he explains. "They validate the arrays, but they also get to be early adopters and get early access to our development technology. They benefit from access to us, and at the same time, they help identify issues so that we can correct the arrays before going to market with them."

Researchers at HC-LITT are investigating the implications of differential microRNA expression in human diseases. HC-LITT will utilize HTG's technology to evaluate regulation of miRNA biogenesis by established oncogenic cell signaling pathways to develop novel diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets for the molecular characterization and treatment of cancer.

"We selected HTG's technology due to the high precision and sensitivity of the product platform," says Winston Patrick Kuo, director of HC-LITT. "I'm looking forward to utilizing HTG's gene expression assay technology and imagers for HC-LITT's research initiatives."

HTG's qNPA technology is used for quantitative, multiplexed gene-based drug discovery programs, including target validation, HTS lead optimization, metabolism, toxicology and clinical development. It is said to be ideal for detecting small changes in gene expression levels which other gene expression platforms cannot reliably detect. DDN

Jeffrey Bouley

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