Affymetrix said today it will collaborate with XRGenomics to develop next-generation diagnostic tests for age-related diseases.

The alliance builds on an existing partnership between the companies, as XRGenomics has applied Affymetrix technology toward developing novel gene expression-based signatures.

Those signatures are designed to enable translational research and biomarker test development activities in complex diseases that become prevalent with age, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

XRGenomics uses Affymetrix’s GeneChip® U133 Plus 2.0 array. According to Affymetrix, the array offers complete coverage of the Human Genome U133 Set plus 6,500 additional genes for analysis of over 47,000 transcripts.

Also used by XRGenomics is Affymetrix’s GeneTitan® platform, designed for operators with minimal microarray experience. According to Affymetrix, GeneTitan and GeneTitan Multi-Channel (MC) instruments condense hands-on processing time to as little as 30 minutes, images an array in less than five minutes, and operates unattended overnight. GeneTitan supports gene expression and genotyping studies on 16-, 24- and 96-format array plates.

“To provide the next generation of clinically meaningful diagnostics for geriatric medicine, one must simultaneously assess multiple ‘RNA scores’ or markers for several age-related chronic diseases to get an accurate picture of the patient. This is why we are so excited to be working with Affymetrix to optimize our RNA signatures in thousands of patients with cognitive impairment using the Affymetrix GeneTitan® platform, which is extremely well suited to meet the technical demands of large scale clinical trials,” Professor Jamie Timmons, PhD, XRGenomics cso, said in a statement.

XRGenomics added that it hopes a biological age signature becomes an important stratification tool for dementia research as early as 2017.

Dr. Timmons founded XRGenomics in 2012 following a decade of OMICs work carried out at the Karolinska Institute. Privately-held and based in London, XRGenomics specializes in informatics-driven research and development activities in the field of aging and diabetes diagnostics.

“We believe that the work of XRGenomics will materially improve the research, diagnosis, and treatment of age-related diseases in the near future,” added Dan St. Louis, svp of the Expression Business Unit at Affymetrix.

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