In This Issue...

OHSU and Intel to Collaborate on Computing Solutions for Genomic Analysis

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and Intel have joined forces to develop next-generation computing technologies that will increase the speed, precision, and cost-effectiveness of analyzing an individual's genetic profile. This multi-year collaboration combines Intel's extreme-scale, high-performance computing solutions with OHSU's innovative four-dimensional approach to imaging and analyzing the molecular drivers of cancer and other diseases. By joining their resources, the two organizations hope to develop a way to create a highly detailed circuit diagram of the genome. This information would allow clinicians to compare a patient's circuitry with the map of a healthy genome in order to isolate the patient's genetic abnormalities and determine which, if any, are linked to disease. The partnership's first projects will focus on genetic profiling of patients' tumors to look for patterns in disease progression and how to use this information to predict the tumor's response to treatment.

Qiagen Inks Deal to Buy Ingenuity Systems

Qiagen finalized a deal on April 29 to acquire Ingenuity Systems, a provider of software solutions to analyze and interpret the biological meaning of genomic data, for $105 million. The centerpiece of Ingenuity's product portfolio is the Ingenuity knowledge base, a 14-year effort to manually curate, model, and computationally structure the vast amount of existing biomedical literature, including genomic variations implicated in human disease and thousands of disease models. The Ingenuity knowledge base and software applications allow users to interpret the increasingly large amounts of biological data produced by human genome sequencing in hopes of better guiding medical treatment decisions.

Ingenuity is also developing a new product to enable broader adoption of next-generation sequencing in molecular diagnostics by offering an optimized and scalable solution for interpreting and scoring clinical variants identified by sequencing-based molecular diagnostic tests. The acquisition of Ingenuity will significantly expand and strengthen Qiagen's own curated database, which is commercially embedded in lab assays sold through Qiagen's GeneGlobe content portal.

NanoString Acquires Liver Cancer Gene Signature From Broad Institute

The Broad Institute has granted an exclusive worldwide license to NanoString Technologies for a 186-gene signature that could help determine which patients diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and hepatitis C-related early-stage cirrhosis are at the highest risk for poor prognosis. NanoString plans to assess the feasibility of developing a diagnostic assay based on the HCC gene signature that would run on the nCounter Analysis System. "This platform could provide the multiplexed gene expression capabilities needed for clinical diagnostic use of this HCC gene signature, especially given the potential for a large-scale global surveillance testing opportunity," said Yujin Hoshida, MD, PhD, who led the discovery of the signature while working as a postdoctoral fellow at The Broad Institute.

CvergenX, NCI Work to Develop Predictive Test for Radiation Therapy Success

The National Cancer Institute has granted CvergenX more than $2 million to develop a reliable radiosensitivity test using a molecular signature index technology that could lead to better radiation therapy decisions for cancer patients. Approximately 60% of all cancer patients receive radiotherapy during their treatment, according to Javier F. Torres-Roca, MD, co-founder and chief scientific officer of CvergenX. The goal of the research is to develop an assay that will reduce the need for radiation therapy by identifying which patients will not respond to treatment. Initially, the company will focus on rectal cancer, where pre-operative radiotherapy is part of the standard-of-care for patients with stage two or three disease. In this group, approximately 40% of patients do not respond to the therapy.