Product News: Leading European Research Institutions Select RainDance’s ThunderStorm™ System for High-Throughput Targeted Sequencing

08 Nov 2012

RainDance Technologies, Inc., the Digital Biology™ Company, today announced new placements of its ThunderStorm™ System at the LIGAN-Personalized Medicine Equipment of Excellence at the Pasteur Institute of Lille in France and CEINGE Biotecnologie Avanzate in Naples, Italy. The ThunderStorm System is a fully automated high-throughput targeted sequencing solution that enables researchers to determine all variation contained in any region of the genome faster and easier than ever before.

Leveraging RainDance’s proven single-molecule picodroplet PCR technology, the ThunderStorm System supports a wide range of sequencing applications, including candidate gene screening, deep sequencing of heterogeneous tumor samples and medical genetics testing.

At the LIGAN-Personalized Medicine Equipment of Excellence at the Pasteur Institute of Lille, researchers are focused on the development of cost-effective, high-throughput and high-quality approaches for the molecular diagnosis of genetic diseases such as monogenic forms of diabetes and obesity. Their vision is to develop solutions that are cheaper and faster than whole exome sequencing and less labor intensive than traditional Sanger sequencing while maintaining levels of sensitivity as good, or better, than this gold-standard DNA sequencing method. In addition to their own research, LIGAN will also offer services for target enrichment using the ThunderStorm System.

Professor Philippe Froguel, head of Equipex LIGAN said, "Physicians need more cost effective and quicker methods of gene screening that enable highly reliable diagnosis of genetic disorders. These conditions would benefit from the broad dissemination of genetic testing and these solutions will further support the development of genomic medicine and its promise of more personalized treatments for human diseases. The RainDance ThunderStorm System is a big step towards this direction.”

At CEINGE, researchers will use the ThunderStorm System to design panels for researching and discovering novel mutations and genes related to the onset and/or development of specific tumors or inherited human diseases. In particular, CEINGE researchers will focus on groups of multigenic diseases such as cardiomyopathies, retinal diseases and cancer hotspots.

Professor Francesco Salvatore, President and Scientific Coordinator of CEINGE said, “Today’s advanced sequencing technologies have provided an unprecedented opportunity to obtain a new understanding of disease pathogenesis that we can use to increase the sensitivity of molecular tests and better identify the mutation carriers. The ThunderStorm System provides us with an important technology to perform our sequencing experiments in larger patient populations using a high-throughput system with the capacity to enrich larger numbers of samples for use in downstream next-generation sequencing applications.

The possibility to obtain high accuracy in mutation detection and a diagnostic sensitivity comparable or even higher than conventional sequencing, allows us to approach regulatory approvals very soon in different countries, such as those with CLIA environments. These activities will also be offered as service.”

“The ThunderStorm System delivers unprecedented daily sample throughput, automated walk-away operation and running economics that are significantly lower than any other commercial solution,” added Mark Dronsfield, Head of European Commercial Operations for RainDance Technologies. “The ThunderStorm System provides customers like LIGAN and CEINGE with a production-ready platform for clinical research and a validation solution for their next-generation sequencing workflows.”