Companies to develop improved microbial analysis and surveillance systems for public health and infectious disease markets

Life Technologies Corporation and OpGen, Inc., a commercial stage whole genome analysis company, today announced that they have signed a collaboration agreement to develop systems, technologies and applications intended to improve the management and surveillance of microbial outbreaks in the public health and infectious disease markets.

“Life Technologies is the ideal partner to demonstrate the value of next-generation sequencing in the public health and hospital laboratory,” said Douglas White, chief executive officer of OpGen. “OpGen’s Whole Genome Mapping technologies in conjunction with the Ion Torrent system will provide a valuable new approach that will provide public health and clinical laboratories access to cutting-edge technologies for microbial analysis and outbreak management.” 

The rise in disease outbreaks due to food borne illnesses and hospital-acquired infections poses an ongoing threat. Public health officials and healthcare organizations need access to improved first responder technologies to rapidly identify disease causing agents in order to effectively control and contain outbreaks. 

The Life Technologies-OpGen collaboration will focus on developing applications and analysis systems that enable the use of the companies’ Whole Genome Mapping and Ion Torrent sequencing technologies for food outbreak and infectious disease analysis.  OpGen’s Whole Genome Mapping technology provides a rapid, comprehensive structural analysis of microbial genomes that, when combined with sequencing data, more accurately detects important novel genetic elements associated with toxicity, virulence and drug resistance.  As part of the collaboration, Life Technologies will also join the public health consortium recently established by OpGen to evaluate Whole Genome Mapping and sequencing for confirmation and management of disease outbreaks.  

“Just six months after we launched the PGM and released the first semiconductor sequencing chip, scientists in China and Germany used Ion’s technology to decode the genome of the deadly German E. coli outbreak strain and rapidly identify its unique combination of toxins and virulence genes,” said Gregg Fergus, President of Ion Torrent, part of Life Technologies. “We are excited to be collaborating with OpGen because of their focus on delivering improved infectious disease detection capabilities to PGM and Whole Genome Mapping enabled laboratories on a global basis. The PGM is the only sequencing platform with the speed, simplicity and scalability to allow public health officials to intervene in ongoing infectious disease outbreaks.”

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