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Collaboration to accelerate genetics-based clinical research

By KERRY JONES WARING

Published June 6, 2013

Empire Genomics, Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE) and UB will embark on a new partnership to develop world-class, gene-sequencing facilities for genetics-based clinical research on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The collaboration capitalizes on each organization’s strengths to help establish a new standard for genomic research in Western New York and continue to grow the life sciences sector of the region’s economy.

Life Technologies, a global provider of biotechnology products and services, will provide state-of-the-art genome-sequencing equipment enabling UB and Empire Genomics to establish their initial set up of Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified sequencing facilities on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The advanced sequencing technology available from Life Technologies, combined with the expertise of UB researchers and the Empire Genomics team, will help clinical researchers develop new diagnostic tests that, in the future, could enable physicians to prescribe treatments tailored to each individual based on genetic make-up.

“We are very pleased that after carefully looking at all of the alternatives, the University at Buffalo and Empire Genetics decided that Ion semiconductor sequencing was the best platform to help them reach their goal of advancing genetics-based clinical research and ultimately driving growth in the life sciences industry in Western New York,” says Mark Stevenson, president and chief operating officer at Life Technologies.

Achieving CLIA certification will enhance and expand the services Empire Genomics and UB provide to clients across the globe, and holds the promise of spawning new diagnostic tests for a number of diseases or conditions. The results eventually will lead to new tools to deliver better health care while growing new jobs in Western New York.  

“This collaboration is a great example of the impact that can be made when industry and academic partners work together toward shared goals,” says Marnie LaVigne, UB associate vice president for economic development. “We look forward to continuing to partner with Life Technologies and Empire Genomics on these efforts to support the advancement of genetics-based clinical research and the life sciences as key economic drivers in our region.”

The CLIA-certified laboratories will be set up at UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and at the downtown Buffalo headquarters of Empire Genomics, a provider of genetics-based research and testing services.  

“Genetics-based diagnostics will play a major role in developing personalized medicine and that, in turn, will create new job opportunities in Western New York,” says Norma J. Nowak, founder and chief scientific officer at Empire Genomics and director of science and technology at UB’s Center of Excellence. “Leveraging our combined strengths will ensure that we remain at the forefront of technological and research capabilities while making greater long-term contributions to the public health.”