Germany adds high-throughput PTP system from Pyrosequencing to its National Genotyping Platform

Uppsala 12 December 2001Pyrosequencing AB, a developer, manufacturer and marketer of DNA sequencing systems for applied genetic analysis, has sold a customised, high-throughput system to the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin, Germany. The Gene Mapping Center (GMC) and Department of Molecular Genetics will use the company's 384-well system to analyse single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in their research programme on the genetics of complex diseases.

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This is Pyrosequencing's fourth high-capacity system sold since launching the Preferred Technology Programme (PTP) earlier this year, evidence of a strong entrance into this market. The company continues to lead the market in moderate-throughput processing with more than 120 PSQ 96 System customers.

"We explored a number of SNP technologies but chose PTP because we have had impressive results with Pyrosequencing's PSQ 96 System. Our need to analyse more samples is increasing, and PTP offers a more cost-effective solution based on the same technology", stated Peter Nurnberg, Ph.D., head of the GMC and Department of Molecular Genetics at MDC. "It is easy to use and provides us with important sequence information surrounding the SNP, which essentially confirms our results. Pyrosequencing is much more than a mere SNP typing method. There is a lot of unrevealed potential in this technology which we are keen to explore."

Under the direction of Dr. Nurnberg, the Gene Mapping Center at MDC and Pyrosequencing have also agreed to collaborate in developing new genotyping applications and methods for enhancing PTP efficiency. In addition to his work at the Center, Dr. Nurnberg is also co-ordinating the German National Genotyping Platform with three service sites, in Berlin, Munich, and Kiel, to provide academic institutions with cost-efficient SNP analysis.

"Our success as a high-throughput provider of SNP technology is growing rapidly", commented Erik Wallden, President and CEO of Pyrosequencing AB. "Having launched the Preferred Technology Programme nine months ago, we have a strong commercial customer base up and running and this sale represents our third major academic research institution. The benefits of our technology for SNP genotyping and sequence analysis have been accepted, new applications continue to be developed, and the value we bring to customers in applied genetic analysis is now being realised", he added.

PTP offers a fully automated high-throughput process that incorporates robotics for sample preparation. Introduced to the market earlier this year, the system utilises 384-well microplates and is capable of scoring up to 100.000 SNPs per day. Pyrosequencing introduced the PSQ 96 System, its first DNA sequencing product, in February 2000 and is already leading the market in both the number of systems sold and the diversity of its customer base. Designed for moderate-throughput processing, the PSQ 96 System offers a scalable, cost-effective solution for SNP analysis and other sequence analyses.

The Gene Mapping Center at Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine is a specialised laboratory for high throughput genotyping for gene mapping in monogenic as well as complex diseases. So far mapping was based upon highly- informative microsatellite (STR) markers. The GMC has performed numerous whole genome scans with more than 50 monogenic human traits mapped and a total of seven genome scans for complex diseases completed. The annual capacity is about 2.000.000 high-quality STR-genotypes and is supposed to be doubled next year. As linkage-disequilibrium (LD) mapping and association studies become more and more important for the analysis of complex diseases, appropriate capacities for the high-throughput genotyping of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are currently being established.

The GMC is mainly funded through grants from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. It has participated since January 1997 in the German Human Genome Project and since 2001 in the National Genome Research Network as one of the major core facilities. Additional funding is provided through a strategy-fund project, "Genetics of Complex Diseases", from the Helmholtz Society of National Research Centres. The laboratory is open for mapping projects of other groups from Germany and abroad. Comprehensive support for data analysis is provided by a strong bio-informatics group.

Pyrosequencing technology is broadly applicable for the analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and for the identification and quantification of short DNA sequences used in bacterial and viral typing. Among Pyrosequencing's customers are AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, the US National Institutes of Health, the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention, the Karolinska Institute, Biogen, Oxagen Ltd., and DuPont Agriculture. More news on Pyrosequencing is to be found in the VMW September 2001 article Pyrosequencing technology for applied genomics successfully distributed in European, U.S., and Asian-Pacific markets.


Leslie Versweyveld

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