LA JOLLA, Calif.—In a move that is largely aimed at clinical trial-level work but which has implications for drug discovery as well, Stratagene Corp., a developer and marketer of life science research and diagnostics products, has entered into a joint development and license agreement with Rosetta Inpharmatics LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Merck & Co., to create an automated solution for the isolation of nucleic acids.
As Stratagene notes, nucleic acid purification allows researchers to separate RNA contained in biological samples for use in performing gene expression analysis and other molecular diagnostic functions.
"The objective is to archive DNA and RNA samples from patients in clinical trials. But to do that in fairly high-throughput fashion, an instrument and disposable is needed so that each sample is processed consistently and at high quality," explains Dr. Joseph A. Sorge, president and CEO of Stratagene.
Stratagene is interested primarily in looking at RNA profiling for its ability to contribute to molecular diagnostics and prognostics, so the company is focused on making sure that the sample collection method is efficient and consistent and does not unfavorably influence RNA expression patterns.
Although the solution is being created to make the clinical trial process easier on researchers, the ability to obtain a very reproducible snapshot of an RNA expression profile also would be useful in the discovery phase of drug development, Sorge notes, particularly for looking at patterns that help identify potential toxicity.
"This agreement with Rosetta Inpharmatics is a significant opportunity for Stratagene and marks another milestone in our molecular diagnostics strategy," Sorge adds. "We believe we have a unique opportunity to create and introduce a differentiated product that will automate the RNA purification process and provide consistent, reproducible results. These two characteristics are critical capabilities in gene expression analysis."
Under the terms of the agreement, Stratagene and Rosetta will jointly develop a proprietary instrument and a single-use consumable to be manufactured and commercialized by Stratagene, to be sold to Stratagene's current customer base and companies engaged in pharmacogenomics.