New gene fishing technology


Basel/Madison – Increasingly powerful sequencing technologies are ushering in an era of personal genome sequences and raising the possibility of using such information to guide medical decisions. Genome resequencing also promises to accelerate the identification of disease-associated mutations. But roughly 98% of the human genome is composed of repeats and intergenic (non-protein-coding) sequences. Thus, it is crucial to focus resequencing on high-value genomic regions such as protein-coding exons or regulatory DNA streches surrounding disease genes of interest.

Researchers from the companies Roche and NimbleGen have now combined the capture of such genomic DNA sequences with highly parallel DNA sequencing. With this approach, they enriched 500 Bp-DNA stretches representing about 6,700 genes by a factor of 400, and also improved the performance of the sequencing reads (Nat. Methods 4(11), 903-905). Another group recovered 98% of 200,000 protein-coding exons with a similar protocol (Nat. Methods 4(11), 907-909).

While both groups claim that the new method provides an adaptable route toward rapid and efficient resequencing of any sizeable, non-repeat portion of the human genome, some problems remain unsolved. One of them is bias by the selective amplification of certain target-DNA-samples. Even so, the technique will likely replace current multiplex-PCR protocols, which are more expensive and labor-intensive.



Basel/Hinxton (UK) – Two European teams have created huge repositories of cancer genomics data that help predict drug response. Swiss Novartis and the Boston-based Broad Institute have combined data obtained from large-scale...



London/Lausanne – The global private equity firm Celtic Therapeutic L.L.L.P. believes in the power of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). It is investing $50m in a new Switzerland-based company called ADC Therapeutics Sarl which...



Basel/Vienna - Following promising results from a Phase III study, Roche has submitted a regulatory application to EMA for subcutaneous Herceptin (trastuzumab) to treat HER2-positive breast cancer. Roche said subcutaneous...



After the US Food & Drug Administration forced Swiss generics giant Sandoz AG to update its production facilities in Quebec, there are now fears that supplies of some medicines could grow tight in Canada. The regulatory authority...



The hepatitis C space has seen a string of large deals in the last weeks that include a US$11bn buyout of Pharmasset by Gilead. Now Novartis is also trying to get in the game with the purchase of a global exclusive licence from...



Allschwil – Swiss Actelion Ltd. has strengthened its commercial offerings by securing rights in certain countries to Auxilium’s biotech drug Xiaflex for treating tissue buildup under the skin. The US pharma is to receive US$10m...



Zug – Life Sciences specialist HBM partners has raised €90m in the first close of its HBM BioCapital II fund, which will invest in revenue-generating companies in the pharmaceuticals, medical device and diagnostics sectors....



Stans – Mondobiotech, a drug discovery company in troubled waters, could soon be under Italian ownership: The Swiss biotech announced it has entered into exclusive negotiations with Milan-based provider of pharmaceutical and...

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