Texas-based molecular diagnostics company Asuragen has entered into a clinical research collaboration with Pacific Biosciences of California (PacBio), a biotechnology company.

The collaboration is aimed at developing molecular assays based on PacBio’s single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology.

Initially, the two companies will focus on research in support of assay development for the carrier screening market.

Asuragen senior vice president of research and development Gary Latham said: “Innovative amplification and sequencing technologies have each been instrumental in discovering and characterizing challenging disease-causing structural variants, such as indels, copy number changes, and repeat expansions.

“We are excited to work with PacBio to combine the best of both technologies to build assays that can uniformly resolve simple and complex forms of genetic variation for research and clinical applications.”

The collaboration will combine AmplideX PCR technology of Asuragen with PacBio SMRT Sequencing

The company said that certain common carrier genes for autosomal recessive and X-linked conditions are technically challenging to amplify and sequence, resulting in incomplete coverage and convoluted workflows over multiple platforms.

The collaboration would facilitate the development of assays by combining Asuragen’s AmplideX PCR technology with PacBio SMRT Sequencing, for hard-to-amplify sequences.

Through easy-to-run assays and optimized workflows, AmplideX products are said to address testing needs in inherited genetic disorders, while SMRT Sequencing is said to be an accurate long-read sequencing platform that represents all regions of the genome and detects any structural variation.

Asuragen team would develop assays for PacBio’s Sequel Systems, by leveraging AmplideX PCR technology. The assays would also utilise PacBio’s HiFi long reads, which helps incorporating multiple passes of the same molecule to create accurate consensus sequence.

Pacific Biosciences chief scientific officer Jonas Korlach said: “We are honored to partner with Asuragen, a leader in molecular diagnostics, to apply the unique value of SMRT Sequencing for clinical research.

“Scientists have shown that PacBio’s long-read sequencing systems offer a high-resolution view of the human genome that is simply not possible with any other sequencing technology.

“We look forward to working with Asuragen to design assays capable of interrogating challenging genomic regions and identifying the full breadth of natural human genetic variation.”