GAITHERSBURG, Md.—Genetic analysis company OpGen Inc. and Hitachi High-Technologies Corp. have inked an agreement to develop a comprehensive human chromosome mapping analytical service for clinical research. This new service will merge OpGen’s Whole Genome Mapping technology with Hitachi High-Technologies’ and the greater Hitachi group’s cloud-based systems, and will feature bioinformatics tools to complete human genome sequences and detect and analyze structural variations in human chromosomes.
Per the terms of the agreement, Hitachi High-Technologies will be responsible for funding development, though no specific financial details were disclosed, and the partners will be working together to combine their respective technologies’ strengths.
According to Takashi Matsuzaka, senior vice president, executive officer and CTO of Hitachi High-Technologies Corp., “This partnership leverages our development of the cloud-based informatics platform and provides enabling and proven technology for human genetic analysis. This is a great example of how Hitachi High-Technologies is continuously enhancing our healthcare informatics offerings for customers worldwide by partnering our technologies with other innovative companies, such as OpGen.”
OpGen’s Whole Genome Mapping provides a “high-resolution, ordered, restriction map that spans the genome,” the company notes on its website. OpGen likens a Whole Genome Map to a barcode, one that “provides a complete, structural view of the genome.” These de-novo barcodes are generated from individual DNA molecules and do not require amplification or PCR steps, and “thousands of single-molecule restriction map reads are assembled to create the Whole Genome Map.” The technology is useful for a range of applications, including sequence assembly, comparative genomics and epidemiology. OpGen opened a CLIA-certified clinical services laboratory in July that will use its Whole Genome Mapping technology, among others, to develop what it characterizes as a best-in-class portfolio of genetic tests and analysis services to study and identify healthcare-associated infections and other human pathogens.
Hitachi High-Technologies has been developing a cloud platform for human genome data analysis with Hitachi Solutions, and the platform will provide secure entry portals for researchers, clinicians and patients to access Whole Genome Mapping data, human chromosome analytical tools and eventually data for clinical decisions. In conjunction with this service, Hitachi High-Technologies will add human DNA sequence analysis tools to complement Whole Genome Mapping in providing complete genetic evaluation of human chromosomes.
“Hitachi High-Technologies Corp. is a global technology leader, and we are pleased to partner with them to create an integrated solution for human genome analysis that captures important structural variation information,” Douglas White, CEO of OpGen, commented in an official statement. “The resulting human chromosome mapping service will enable OpGen to continue its expansion into clinical research with the potential to develop diagnostic applications for diseases based on a patient’s genetic information.”
This is the latest of a handful of partnerships for OpGen involving its Whole Genome Mapping technology in the past year. In June, the company announced the establishment of a strategic collaboration with Applied Maths NV to provide advanced software tools for microbial genomics and molecular strain typing. Per the terms of the agreement, Applied Maths incorporated a Whole Genome Mapping module into its new BioNumerics 7 software suite. Last December, OpGen initiated a scientific and technical partnership with the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), to create high-resolution microbial genetic maps in cooperation with the 100K Genome Project, a collaboration begun by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, UC Davis and Agilent Technologies to sequence the genetic codes of at least 100,000 infectious organisms. Under the agreement, UC Davis chose to integrate OpGen’s ARGUS Whole Genome Mapping system into its DNA sequencing workflow to aid in sequence assembly and genome validation.