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Curetis, MGI Plan to Codevelop Sequencing IVDs for Microbial Infections

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – German molecular diagnostics firm Curetis and BGI Group subsidiary MGI said today they plan to codevelop next-generation sequencing-based in vitro diagnostic assays for microbial infections.

The two firms have signed a broad memorandum of understanding to develop IVD assays targeting an array of pathogens and genetic and antibiotic resistance markers. The firms plan to combine Curetis' PCR platform, the Unyvero L4 Lysator, with MGI's SP100 Sample Preparation System and MGISeq NGS sequencers.

MGI will provide hardware and chemistry integration, develop an automated workflow, and manufacture the NGS assays. In addition, it will be in charge of validating the assay and seeking the necessary regulatory approvals. Curetis and its wholly owned subsidiary Ares Genetics will provide sample prep technologies, panel design, and NGS assay design, making use of its Genetic Antibiotic Resistance and Susceptibility database (GEAR). Curetis launched Ares in April in order to pursue business opportunities around GEAR.

Ares Genetics will also develop an app for data interpretation — identifying pathogens as well as genetic and antibiotic resistance markers. Andreas Keller from the Center for Bioinformatics at Saarland University, who helped develop GEAR, will support Ares and BGI.

MGI will first commercialize the assay in China. In addition, the companies expect to forge further agreements that cover other aspects of the collaboration, including hardware and chemistry integration, manufacturing, assay design, and licensing and distribution.

"This is one of several ways we can capitalize on the tremendous potential of GEAR," Achim Plum, chief business officer of Curetis and a managing director at Ares Genetics, said in a statement.

Keller added that BGI's sequencing combined with the GEAR database would allow for "the translation of NGS technology into meaningful diagnostic applications for complex microbial infections."