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GEN News Highlights : Mar 7, 2012

Chronix Opens South Dakota Sequencing Lab for Cancer and Rare Disease Services

Firm is developing blood-based DNA assays for disease diagnosis and monitoring.

Chronix Biomedical opened a mass sequencing laboratory in Brookings, South Dakota, to offer sequencing services to academic and industry researchers carrying out biomarker programs in cancer, orphan diseases including autoimmune and neurologic disorders, or diseases for which diagnostics currently aren’t available. The new facility effectively expands the sphere of Chronix’ existing services, which it currently provides to the clinical, academic, industrial, and government sectors for breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers, brain injuries, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Chronix has worked closely with the South Dakota State University research community to establish its new facility, explains Joh DiPietro, svp of finance and administration. Financing assistance was provided by First Bank & Trust of Brookings, South Dakota, and the Area Development Corporation of Brookings, South Dakota. “We anticipate that the success of this first specialty laboratory in Brookings will enable us to launch additional satellite sequencing facilities in collaboration with major research cancer centers around the country.”

The Chronix platform can sequence the trace amounts of cell-free disease-related DNA circulating in a patient’s blood. Initially developed for the development of patient-specific cancer diagnostics, monitoring, and predictive assays, the platform has utility in a broad range of disease areas, the firm claims. It has reportedly already demonstrated the utility of its approach in chronic fatigue syndrome, breast and colorectal cancer, and in multiple myeloma.

“We have been working with Chronix for several years and have been pleased to see their technology and applications develop from use in production animal diseases into human diseases,” comments Kevin Kephart, vp for research at South Dakota State University. He claims the platform will “open the door to provide greater insight into the underlying causes of many mysterious and orphan diseases … Their progress has been tremendous in the use of sequencers to provide valuable medical information in the area of personalized medicine.”