QIAGEN Introduces Novel Tools for miRNA Analysis

Company expands portfolio by adding four new sample and assay solutions for this rapidly emerging area of molecular research

Venlo, The Netherlands, (PresseBox) - QIAGEN (Nasdaq: QGEN; Frankfurt, Prime Standard: QIA) today announced the launch of four new research products for the processing and analysis of microRNA (miRNA). miRNA are short nucleic acid molecules which are considered to play key roles in gene regulation processes and also have significant implications in various diseases such as cancer. QIAGEN's new product offerings add significant capabilities to biomedical research directed towards the identification of new molecular disease targets, pharma and academic research. The products meet the growing need for ready-to-use, convenient and reliable sample and assay technologies for miRNA applications and are expected to advance scientific research in this important area of study.

As of today, scientists have identified more than 820 different miRNA molecules within the human body, and the number is still rapidly growing. These molecules have been found to be key variables in the regulation of gene activity in cells by influencing the translation of genes into proteins as their functional equivalents within cells - thus also being part of a broader process known as RNA interference (RNAi). Therefore, miRNA molecules can affect both the normal development and differentiation processes in healthy tissue and the emergence of diseases.

Current research mainly focuses on analyzing the expression and the function of various miRNA molecules, as one molecule can regulate the activity of multiple different genes and one gene can be regulated by many different miRNAs. In this context, miRNA molecules are becoming increasingly interesting both as potential therapeutic and diagnostic targets. Studies have already shown that various diseases including several types of cancer and cardiovascular diseases are associated with unusual or specific miRNA molecules or levels.

QIAGEN's new product offerings include both synthetic miRNA molecules and miRNA inhibitors which can be used to study the function of the molecules by either amplifying or inhibiting normal miRNA activity in a given cell environment and thereby inferring the function of the miRNA molecule of interest. QIAGEN's library of available mimic miRNA molecules and inhibitors covers all currently decoded human, rat and mouse miRNA molecules. Along with the mimic molecules and inhibitors, QIAGEN also offers a kit for their delivery into various cell types. Moreover, the expanded product range includes customizable assays for the reliable detection and quantification of a wide range of miRNA molecules found in humans, rats and mice. QIAGEN's miScript Primer PCR Assays are individually designed according to specifications provided by the customers in applied molecular biology, pharmaceutical industry and academic research to study the expression of newly discovered miRNA molecules.

"We believe that these new QIAGEN products have the potential to represent important contributions to the rapidly growing area of miRNA research. The expansion of our leading portfolio for this exciting field underlines our commitment to this growing area of research and further strengthens our position as a leading provider of sample and assay technologies for miRNA research," explains Constanze Kindler, QIAGEN's Senior Global Product Manager Transfection. "The new products significantly facilitate entire miRNA workflows, giving researchers powerful and convenient tools to study even newly discovered miRNA molecules, which is of particular importance in this fast growing field."

QIAGEN markets a broad portfolio of sample and assay technologies for the study of various gene regulation mechanisms and gene function including DNA, RNA, miRNA, siRNA and epigenetics. Among others, the portfolio includes a RNA interference (RNAi) set for cancer genes, siRNA molecules for the entire human genome and the miScript technology allowing for the simultaneous detection and quantification of hundreds of different miRNA molecules.

These QIAGEN miRNA products are intended for research use. No claim or representation is intended for its use to provide information for the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of a disease.

About RNAi and miRNA:

RNAi is a mechanism which allows to turn "on" and "off" genes by regulating the formation (or expression) of proteins. In 2006, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Craig C. Mello and Andrew Z. Fire for research in the field of RNAi. Like its synthetic cousin molecule siRNA, the naturally found small microRNA, which is not bigger than 24 base pairs, is assumed to play a key role in this process. miRNAs correlate with various cancers and diseases and seem to be formed in DNA regions called introns, which until very recently were considered to have no specific function. Today, researchers believe that these regions are subject to accelerated genetic variation and help explain what genetically separates human beings from much less complex organisms, which are endowed with a similar number of genes.

Since microRNA have been discovered very recently, the market is still small, but it is growing exponentially and can be considered one of the most rapidly evolving fields in today's life sciences. Estimates show that the global RNAi market could grow annually up to 30 percent, and that it could reach US$ 330 million in worldwide revenues by 2010. QIAGEN believes it is the market and technology leader in RNAi products used in many fields, including in pharmaceutical research.

QIAGEN N.V.

QIAGEN N.V., a Netherlands holding company, is the leading provider of sample and assay technologies. Sample technologies are used to isolate and process DNA, RNA, and proteins from biological samples such as blood or tissue. Assay technologies are used to make such isolated biomolecules visible. QIAGEN has developed and markets more than 500 consumable products as well as automated solutions for such consumables. The company provides its products to molecular diagnostics laboratories, academic researchers, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and applied testing customers for purposes such as forensics, animal or food testing, and pharmaceutical process control. QIAGEN's assay technologies include what is considered to be the broadest panel of molecular diagnostic tests available worldwide. This panel includes the only FDA-approved test for human papillomavirus (HPV), the primary cause of cervical cancer. QIAGEN employs more than 2,800 people in more than 30 locations worldwide. Further information about QIAGEN can be found at http://www.qiagen.com/.

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