Applied Biosystems Expands Applications for Gene Expression Discovery With Next-Generation Sequencing Platform
New Solution for Small RNA Discovery Enables New Experiments for Understanding Critical Biological and Disease Processes FOSTER CITY, Calif.–Only in recent years have scientists begun to understand the role of small, non-protein coding RNA molecules in living cells. Breakthroughs in science and technology have revealed that this newly discovered class of regulatory molecules plays a critical role in cellular processes with applications for understanding both basic biology and complex diseases such as cancer. Researchers now have a new tool to enable the discovery of microRNAs and other small RNA molecules using the latest genomic analysis technology from Applied Biosystems (NYSE:ABI – News), an Applera Corporation business. The company today announced that it has enhanced its solution for performing highly sensitive digital gene expression analysis on its next-generation sequencing platform with its new SOLiD™ RNA Expression Solution. The new offering includes a new sample preparation kit to enable high throughput discovery of novel RNA molecules without requiring previous knowledge of sequence information. The solution is expected to dramatically improve the ability of researchers to identify small RNA molecules and enable experiments that were previously not possible. The SOLiD Small RNA Expression Kit provides researchers with an innovative workflow that greatly reduces the time, cost, and experimental variability associated with small RNA library preparation. The kit converts total RNA into a library suitable for input into the SOLiD System workflow for high-throughput genomic analysis. The simple protocol reduces the sample preparation workflow to a single day compared to four days with alternative platforms. As a result, the kit is expected to improve the detection of biologically relevant changes for researchers working with small RNA molecules. It also requires very small sample quantities, enabling studies not possible before using methods requiring more RNA than was available to the researcher. The new sample preparation kit is currently available through an early access program. Once small RNAs are discovered using the SOLiD system, researchers can use Applied Biosystems’ industry-leading TaqMan® Assays to validate their results or focus on specific microRNAs of interest, providing a complete workflow solution for microRNA analysis. Applied Biosystems also announced today that it has begun an early access program for Custom TaqMan MicroRNA Assays to support customers discovering novel microRNAs. Victor Ambros, Ph.D., a professor of molecular medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School who helped pioneer the field of small RNA analysis, is one of more than 10 early access customers so far for the SOLiD Small RNA Expression kit. Dr. Ambros is using the kit, in combination with the TaqMan microRNA Assays, as part of his investigation into the role microRNAs play in cancer. “This is really a transformative technology in that it allows scientists to perform experiments we couldn’t contemplate before and in a manner than is much easier than previous methods,” said Dr. Ambros. “In my experience the kit requires at least 10-fold less RNA per sample, and requires far fewer steps than techniques I have used in the past. Further, the straightforward and simple protocol opens up the possibility for more scientists to do these types of analyses.” Fewer than 800 microRNAs have been discovered so far, but advances in technology such as the SOLiD System are expected to reveal many more novel molecules of potential scientific interest. Because the SOLiD System can detect and quantify small RNA molecules without requiring prior knowledge of DNA sequences of the molecules being targeted, it is an effective tool for profiling both known and currently unknown miRNAs and other small RNAs expressed in biological samples. “The SOLiD System is ideally suited for gene expression analysis because it provides the industry’s highest level of throughput and delivers the sensitivity required to detect genes expressed at very low levels and to detect changes in low abundance molecules,” said Roland Wicki, director of SOLiD gene expression strategy for Applied Biosystems. “With the new Small RNA Expression Kit, we have expanded the applications for gene expression analysis on the SOLiD System to include these less understood but highly important small RNA molecules.” Applied Biosystems is a global leader in the development and commercialization of instrument-based systems, consumables, software, and services for the life-science market and is the recognized market leader in the commercialization of DNA sequencing platforms. Applied Biosystems offers the most comprehensive solution for non-coding RNA research, comprising products for small RNA discovery, expression profiling, quantitation, siRNA knockdown, knockdown validation, and sample preparation. Applied Biosystems continues its leadership in DNA sequencing by commercializing technology that helps scientists to better understand and treat disease based on genomic information. The SOLiD System has established new standards for next-generation genetic analysis platforms in terms of throughput, accuracy, application flexibility and scalability. The SOLiD System is an end-to-end next-generation genomic analysis solution comprised of the sequencing unit, chemistry, a computing cluster and data storage. The platform is based on sequencing by oligonucleotide ligation and detection. Unlike polymerase sequencing approaches, the SOLiD System utilizes a proprietary technology called stepwise ligation, which generates high-quality data for applications including: whole genome sequencing, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), microbial sequencing, digital karyotyping, medical sequencing, genotyping, gene expression, and small RNA discovery, among others. About Applera Corporation and Applied Biosystems Applera Corporation consists of two operating groups. Applied Biosystems serves the life science industry and research community by developing and marketing instrument-based systems, consumables, software, and services. Customers use these tools to analyze nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), small molecules, and proteins to make scientific discoveries and develop new pharmaceuticals. Applied Biosystems’ products also serve the needs of some markets outside of life science research, which we refer to as “applied markets,” such as the fields of: human identity testing (forensic and paternity testing); biosecurity, which refers to products needed in response to the threat of biological terrorism and other malicious, accidental, and natural biological dangers; and quality and safety testing, such as testing required for food and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Applied Biosystems is headquartered in Foster City, CA, and reported sales of approximately $2.1 billion during fiscal 2007. The Celera Group is a diagnostics business delivering personalized disease management through a combination of products and services incorporating proprietary discoveries. Berkeley HeartLab, a subsidiary of Celera, offers services to predict cardiovascular disease risk and optimize patient management. Celera also commercializes a wide range of molecular diagnostic products through its strategic alliance with Abbott and has licensed other relevant diagnostic technologies developed to provide personalized disease management in cancer and liver diseases. Information about Applera Corporation, including reports and other information filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is available at http://www.applera.com, or by telephoning 800.762.6923. Information about Applied Biosystems is available at http://www.appliedbiosystems.com. Applied Biosystems Forward Looking Statements Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking. These may be identified by the use of forward-looking words or phrases such as “should, “planned,” and “expect,” among others. These forward-looking statements are based on Applera Corporation’s current expectations. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a “safe harbor” for such forward-looking statements. In order to comply with the terms of the safe harbor, Applera Corporation notes that a variety of factors could cause actual results and experience to differ materially from the anticipated results or other expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements. These factors include but are not limited to: (1) rapidly changing technology and dependence on customer acceptance of the SOLiD System; (2) the risk of unanticipated difficulties associated with the further development of the SOLiD™ System; and (3) other factors that might be described from time to time in Applera Corporation’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All information in this press release is as of the date of the release, and Applera does not undertake any duty to update this information, including any forward-looking statements, unless required by law.