Luminex and High Throughput Genomics (HTG), a provider of the quantitative nuclease protection assay (qNPA), has launched a new custom gene expression product qBead Gene Expression Assay (qBead Assay). The companies co-developed the product and have signed an exclusive distribution agreement in which Luminex will begin offering qBead Assay to the research community.

The new qBead Assay places HTG’s proven qNPA chemistry on the Luminex xMAP Technology multiplexing platform. The result is a high-throughput assay with a simplified workflow that requires no extractions, cDNA synthesis or amplifications. The qBead assay is suited for scientists who need to get high quality gene expression data from degraded samples or difficult samples such as Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded (FFPE) and other fixed tissues where RNA quality is an issue.

Custom qBead Assays employ Luminex’s MagPlex magnetic beads. They allow multiplexed measurement of multiple gene expression signatures per sample that have the opportunity to run on the thousands of Luminex 100/200 instruments installed, and can utilise the high-throughput, 500-gene multiplexing capability of the new Luminex Flexmap 3D instrument.

Luminex said that the researchers can order a qBead Assay that is custom-tailored to their genes of interest and optimised for their sample type.

TJ Johnson, CEO of HTG, said: “Advances in discovery through sequencing and high-density arrays have driven significant growth in the mid-plex custom gene expression research market. Scientists in this area validate gene expression signatures and screen established panels. They often need custom assays that allow them to quickly and accurately measure a selective set of genes in many samples. With the qBead Assay, HTG and Luminex have joined forces to meet this need.”

Patrick Balthrop, president and CEO of Luminex, said: “The combination of xMAP Technology from Luminex and the qBead Assay represents an advance for many scientists, including cancer researchers who perform retrospective studies on large numbers of archived samples.

“Luminex is excited to partner with HTG to leverage our scientific and technical expertise and respective technologies to create high-throughput, custom assays that will advance the work of researchers in the critical, growing mid-plex custom gene expression research arena.”