Picking up the slack … and then some

Eurofins MWG Operon and Genomatix join forces to offer advanced NGS

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MUNICH, Germany—Eurofins MWG Operon, which focuses on next-generation sequencing (NGS), and Genomatix Software GmbH, whose specialty is complex analysis and interpretation of NGS data, will combine their expertise and join forces to provide comprehensive genome analysis and resequencing project services, per an agreement the companies announced last month.

Hard on the heels of this July 8 development, the two companies announced that they have developed a complete human exome array, based on Roche NimbleGen sequence capture technology. According to Bruno Poddevin, Eurofins' senior vice president of genomic services, "The development of the new exome array was necessary because currently available versions of human whole-exome capture products do not include or do not efficiently capture many medically relevant genes, so researchers might miss important information."

Eurofins and Genomatix note that a recent comparison study by Kevin Jacobs, director of scientific operations of bioinformatics at the National Cancer Institute, presented at the June "Beyond Sequencing Conference" in San Francisco, showed that between 17 and 23 percent of human coding sequences are not targeted by current exome capturing systems, missing out on several medically important genes.

Klaus May, chief business officer of Genomatix, says, "Based on the latest human reference genome sequence hg19/NCBI37/GRCh37 and our proprietary ElDorado extended genome annotation 02-2010, we developed a human exome with 282,363 target regions, representing 240,402 exonic regions. We included splice sites and added 83,246 proximal promoter regions plus 678 microRNAs in order to allow the researcher to obtain the most comprehensive picture that exon capturing technology allows today."

The two companies have already worked together successfully to win several significant projects where applicative know-how and powerful bioinformatic capabilities have been key for effective project consulting and execution. May says that "Eurofins is an outstanding quality- and service-oriented company with friendly, bright and competent people. I am highly satisfied about this partnership, which represents the first one-stop shop for complete project services, from experimental planning, wet-lab work and data analysis, to data interpretation and deep biological understanding."

Genomatix and Eurofins will work closely together, May says, from the earliest conceptual and quotation phase, throughout the experimental design, wet-lab QC and data production, until the final data analysis, and—if wanted—deep biological data interpretation.

"Technically, each partner does the work in the area of its major expertise," he explains. "So Eurofins will execute all the wet-lab related services; Genomatix will do all the data analysis and interpretation. To the customer, this is of no relevance, since for customers, there will be only one party to talk to. This can be Eurofins or Genomatix. No matter which company receives the order, the processes behind the scene will be identical. We will provide any NGS-related full-service work. This can be de novo sequencing with assembly and annotation, resequencing, targeted or not, DNAseq, RNAseq, ChIPseq, and epigenetic analysis like methylation and histone modification studies."

The customer base will be global: academic and non-profit institutions, hospitals and clinical centers, as well as small or large commercial enterprises, May adds.

"The highest appeal of our offering will be to institutions which do not have the infrastructure or manpower to run such studies in-house, or institutions which are hesitant to immediate invest heavily in NGS equipment, infrastructure and staff," he says.

Eurofins MWG Operon, a member of the Eurofins Group, has 8,000 employees with major offices and production facilities in Europe, the United States and Asia. Genomatix Software GmbH is a computational biology company headquartered in Munich, Germany with a U.S. facility in Ann Arbor, Mich. Founded in 1997, Genomatix pioneered the analysis and understanding of eukaryotic gene regulation. The company's scientists have published more than 180 peer-reviewed scientific papers with more than 5,000 citations. More than 35,000 researchers worldwide currently apply Genomatix tools and databases, the company states.

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