Automated Sequence Capture for Next-Generation Sequencing Paves the Way for Personalized Medicine
16 Mar 2009

febit today announced the official launch of its new sequence capture technology Hybselect. In several biomedical studies of early access customers over the past months, HybSelect demonstrated superb enrichment factors and deep sequencing coverage for a broad range of human genes and genomic regions. As the first sequence capture technology combining outstanding enrichment and walk-away convenience, HybSelect opens up new opportunities in biomarker discovery and the development of personalized medicine.
 
Declining costs and dramatically higher sequencing output has distinguished the fast-paced genomics market since 2003. Sequencing a human genome, a project that required years and billions of USD, is now feasible in weeks for thousands of USD. Nevertheless, conducting statistically relevant biomedical studies with deep sequencing of patient samples is still prohibitively expensive and inefficient. HybSelect effectively scales next generation sequencing to the needs of biomedical research and discovery by enabling large scale studies.

The accessibility and enormous capacity of the next generation sequencers have triggered a heightened demand for sequence capture technologies amongst geneticists: targeted re-sequencing of medically-relevant genome loci will greatly enhance the understanding of health and disease in crucial areas such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. The outcomes of such studies are significant in that they will allow improved diagnostics and targeted applications of medical agents.

“HybSelect even enables large scale targeted re-sequencing studies because of the high degree of automation combined with the power to detect genetically relevant information in the genome with high efficiency, which can not be met by PCR, or other methods on the market. The fully automated HybSelect technology will compel adoption in several ways: short hands-on time (minutes instead of hours), a high degree of reproducibility, and unmatched parallelism in hybselecting several genomic samples at a time,” said Peer Staehler, CSO of febit, summarizing the advances of febit’s latest product.

The proof of concept has been positively confirmed by early access customers. Dr. Matthew Huentelman, an investigator and lead collaborator at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, AZ, was one of the first researchers to use HybSelect. His laboratory uses state-of-the-art techniques to pin-point differences in genes and pathways that contribute to the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. “We are really excited about the high enrichment factor and the depth of coverage of the targeted sequences that can be achieved using HybSelect from febit. The short hands-on time and ease of use reinforce our intentions to use this new technology for further studies,” said Dr. Huentelman.

HybSelect will be also employed in the newly developed Biomarker Discovery Center Heidelberg for the detection of novel tumor markers. Within the European READNA-consortium (REvolutionary Approaches and Devices for Nucleic Acid analysis) HybSelect will support the selection and enrichment of specific gene loci for Next Generation Sequencers.

The new technology is available as a protocol for febit’s Geniom RT Analyzer, or as a full service including Next-Gen sequencing from febit. HybSelect is optimized for the Illumina GAII sequencing system, and will be available for other sequencing platforms soon.

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