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Roche and Oxford University: Cooperation to Evaluate 454 Sequencing and NimbleGen High-Density Arrays for Genetic Disease Analysis

(PresseBox) (Burgess Hill, UK, ) Roche Diagnostics Ltd. today announced that they will support the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (OxBRC) - a partnership between the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust and University of Oxford - in the development of solutions enabling improved genetic and cytogenetic testing. Using the next-generation sequencing technology of 454 Sequencing and high-density arrays of Roche NimbleGen, the Oxford BRC will work on improved solutions for the analysis of genetic diseases.

The OxBRC undertakes "translational research" - taking research from the lab bench to the bedside. This involves translating basic research, done on a molecular or cellular level, to a clinical or patient-level, therefore driving medical innovations that are intended to improve healthcare delivery for the benefit of all patients.

In the course of their research project, Oxford will install several 454 Genome Sequencer FLX systems, a next-generation sequencing platform characterized by long, highly accurate reads. In conjunction with 454 Sequencing, Oxford will employ NimbleGen arrays as a preparative tool for sequencing (Sequence Capture) and genome-wide detection of copy number variation (CGH). The marriage of these new innovative technologies for clinical genetic testing will be thoroughly evaluated and are believed to provide significant advantages over current methods. Clinically documented samples ascertained for selected diseases will be tested in three areas:
- sequencing of several genes known for private familial mutations (454 Sequencing)
- mutation screening in a large number of genes (454 Sequencing and NimbleGen Sequence Capture Arrays)
- identification of genes and regions with genomic imbalances (NimbleGen CGH Arrays)

Manfred Baier, Head of Roche Applied Science, said, "We are very interested to further evaluate the potential of our technologies for medical applications. During the last few years we have seen many publications in high ranking scientific journals that illustrate impressively the potential of 454 Sequencing and NimbleGen arrays in analyzing diseases."

Professor Alastair Buchan, Director of the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre added: "Next generation sequencing and high density arrays are novel technologies with considerable clinical potential. Evaluation of these fits well with our strategy of driving innovation and translational research in medicine and we are very pleased to be working with Roche to evaluate these platforms."

454 Life Sciences develops and commercializes the innovative Genome Sequencer system for ultra-high-throughput DNA sequencing. Specific applications include de novo sequencing and re-sequencing of genomes, metagenomics, RNA analysis, and targeted sequencing of DNA regions of interest. The hallmarks of 454 Sequencing are its simple, unbiased sample preparation and long, highly accurate sequence reads, including paired reads. Sequencing technology of 454 has enabled many peer-reviewed studies in diverse research fields such as cancer and infectious disease research, drug discovery, marine biology, anthropology, paleontology and many more.

For more information on 454 sequencing, visit sequencing.

Roche NimbleGen is a leading innovator, manufacturer, and supplier of a proprietary suite of DNA microarrays, consumables, instruments, and services. Roche NimbleGen uniquely produces high-density arrays of long oligo probes that provide greater information content and higher data quality necessary for studying the full diversity of genomic and epigenomic variation. The improved performance is made possible by proprietary Maskless Array Synthesis (MAS) technology of Roche NimbleGen arrays, which uses digital light processing and rapid, high-yield photochemistry to synthesize long oligo, high-density DNA microarrays with extreme flexibility. For more information about Roche NimbleGen arrays, please visit the company's website at

The Oxford BRC

Funded by the UK's National Institute of Health Research, the Oxford BRC is enabling a pipeline of excellent basic biomedical research to deliver real change in the management of patients. As a partnership between the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust and the University of Oxford, the Oxford BRC provides an environment for translational biomedical and clinical research work, and will foster greater collaboration between clinicians and basic scientists. The Oxford Biomedical Research Centre has a strong commitment to developing R&D capacity through the training of scientists, clinicians, and allied healthcare professionals and for extending user involvement in research.

454 and 454 Sequencing are trademarks of 454 Life Science Corporation, Branford, CT, USA, a company of Roche.

NIMBLEGEN is a trademark of Roche All brands or product names are trademarks of their respective holders.

Roche Diagnostics Deutschland GmbH

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world's leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As the world's biggest biotech company and an innovator of products and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, the Group contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving people's health and quality of life. Roche is the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics and drugs for cancer and transplantation, and is a market leader in virology. It is also active in other major therapeutic areas such as autoimmune diseases, inflammatory and metabolic disorders and diseases of the central nervous system. In 2007 sales by the Pharmaceuticals Division totaled 36.8 billion Swiss francs, and the Diagnostics Division posted sales of 9.3 billion francs. Roche has R&D agreements and strategic alliances with numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai, and invested over 8 billion Swiss francs in R&D in 2007. Worldwide, the Group employs about 80,000 people. Additional information is available on the Internet at

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