Genia Technologies Collaborates with Professors Jingyue Ju at Columbia and George Church at Harvard to Develop a Nanopore-based Sequencing Platform That Will Enable the Use of Molecular Diagnostics in Everyday Clinical Care

~ Innovative Single Molecule, Electrical Platform Combines New NanoTag Sequencing Chemistry with Standard CMOS Integrated Circuit Technology to Meet the Needs of Molecular Diagnostics

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Oct. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Genia Technologies, Inc. today announced a collaboration with investigators at Columbia University and Harvard University to develop a nanopore-based sequencing system that will accelerate the use of DNA sequencing in the clinic. The three-way collaboration focuses on the development of a single molecule sequencing system combining Genia's standard complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) integrated circuit, Professor George Church's novel protein constructs with Columbia's unique Tag-based sequencing chemistry approach.  Genia has recently entered into an exclusive license agreement with Columbia University for use of its Tag-based sequencing technology.  By combining standard protein nanopores with the tag sequencing chemistry (NanoTag) and semiconductor technology, the Genia chip will be more accurate, faster, and affordable than current commercially available technologies.  This integrated circuit platform is designed for decentralized deployment, ease of use, and less upfront sample preparation, at a size and price ideal for diagnostics in the clinical setting.

"We believe DNA sequencing will dominate molecular diagnostics in the future," said Stefan Roever, CEO of Genia.  "We have been working to fully operationalize a nanopore-based sequencing approach, and this chemistry will be the catalyst that helps us finally bring affordable, easy-to-use genomic diagnostics into everyday medical care."

"The Genia platform combines the single molecule detection capabilities seen in nanopore-based platforms with true semiconductor scalability," Roever continued. "We are thrilled to collaborate with Professor Jingyue Ju, Professor George Church, and their teams to develop the NanoTag sequencing chemistry on our platform and believe this Tag-based approach overcomes the inherent accuracy issues you have with trying to pull native DNA through the pore.  We believe this will be the winning chemistry for nanopore-based sequencing."     

This transformational platform, based on the innovative electronic Nano-SBS system developed by Dr. Ju and his team at Columbia's Engineering School in an academic collaboration with Dr. John Kasianowicz and his group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, uses a robust sequencing-by-synthesis approach to determine DNA sequences electronically at the single molecule level, without requiring amplification or optical detection.  The technology identifies DNA sequences not by detecting the nucleotides themselves with the nanopore, but by measuring the current changes caused by the passage of each of four different tags that are released from the incorporated nucleotide during the polymerase reaction.  On September 21, 2012, Dr. Ju, Dr. Kasianowicz, and their groups published an article in the peer-reviewed journal, Scientific Reports (Nature Publication group), "PEG-Labeled Nucleotides and Nanopore Detection for Single Molecule DNA Sequencing by Synthesis" (2, 684;DOI:10.1038/srep00684), that successfully demonstrates proof of principle of the Nano-SBS system. 

"We are very fortunate to have partnered with Genia Technologies.  We are very impressed with their chip capabilities and are excited to work with them and take our novel tag sequencing chemistry to commercialization. Our published research with Dr. Kasianowicz represents the first step in further development of this novel sequencing technology. By scaling with a nanopore integrated circuit, the commercial implications and the impact on biomedical research and clinical diagnostics are very exciting," said Dr. Ju, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Pharmacology at Columbia University. 

Genia's technology combines a nanopore array integrated on a standard CMOS chip. Software on the chip controls the insertion of the nanopores into the lipid bilayers and allows for active control of individual sensors on the array.   Genia has strong IP around their analog electronic circuitry, which at the heart, controls each sensor of the array and allows for operationalizing the overall nanopore-based platform.  In addition, Genia's patented protein construct and methodology solve the diffusion, capture rate, and translocation speed issues faced by alternative exonuclease-based approaches. 

To make NanoTag sequencing a reality, a fusion protein is needed to position the polymerase near the nanopore's vestibule, so that the tags can be easily captured and detected in the barrel of the pore.  As part of the Genia collaboration, George Church and his group will provide the protein constructs which are integral to the overall Tag-based approach.

"DNA sequencing is the future of molecular diagnostics and finding a platform that can be deployed straight into the clinic and enable rapid, easy to interpret results will be the way to truly achieve personal genomes worthy of precision medicine," said George Church, Professor of Genetics, at Harvard University.   "The Genia integrated circuit combined with the NanoTag sequencing chemistry, seems to have a winning formula that makes it ideal for clinical care and may be the platform that finally moves DNA sequencing into the doctor's office to ensure earlier diagnostics, treatment, and better patient outcomes.

The first version of Genia's CMOS chip is in-house and is currently being used to further develop and test the NanoTag sequencing chemistry.  The company expects to ship its first devices to customers for beta testing by the end of 2013 and expects to have a commercial product, on the market in 2014. 

About Genia Technologies: 

Genia Technologies, Inc. is a private company located in Mountain View, CA.  Genia's mission is to unify Moore's Law with molecular diagnostics to make genetic information universally available.  Genia's integrated circuits enable massively parallel, single-molecule DNA sequencing.  Its versatile nanopore-based platform allows for single molecule, electrical real-time analysis without the need for complicated optics, labels, amplification, or fluidics.  By developing a true integrated circuit on standard semiconductor process technology, Genia brings the benefits of genome sequencing out of the lab and into the everyday world. 

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Genia Technologies Contact:

Pratima Rao
[email protected]


SOURCE Genia Technologies, Inc.