Biomarker-based assay will assess likelihood of patient with latent TB developing active disease.

Qiagen and the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology (MPIIB) inked a collaboration to develop a molecular diagnostic for assessing the risk of a patient with latent tuberculosis (TB) developing active disease during their lifetime. The molecular reflex assay will be based on research carried out at the MPIIB, and is expected to comprise a PCR-based assay for multiple biomarkers. It will be designed to run on Qiagen’s QIAsymphony platform, and serve as a reflex test that is carried out after diagnosis of latent TB using the firm’s QuantiFERON-TB Gold assay.

Both partners will work to collect, analyze, and evaluate data to identify genetic markers indicative of the later development of active TB. Qiagen will carry out assay design and manufacturing, with MPIIB providing access to marker sets, and developing new biosignatures. Resulting kits, which aren’t expected to be available before 2013, will be marketed by Qiagen.

“The collaboration with MPIIIB underpins Qiagen’s strategy to further expand its portfolio with new innovative assay technologies for profiling diseases,” states James Roghel, Ph.D., vp and head of scientific affairs at Qiagen. “We believe that the combination of ‘premolecular’ and DNA/RNA-based moelcular testing technologies is the next-generation solution for screening and identifying infected individuals before they develop active TB disease.”

Qiagen acquired the QuantiFERON technology through its buyout of Australian firm Cellestis, in a $374 million deal completed in August 2011. 

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