Qiagen has entered into an agreement with the Dutch molecular diagnostic component supplier Genome Diagnostics, which covers the development and commercialization of 6 new tests until 2011.

The collaboration further expands Qiagen’s testing portfolio for the early detection of diseases and individualised treatment of patients thereby strengthening Qiagen’s molecular diagnostics offering for applications in prevention and personalized healthcare.

Reportedly, Qiagen and Genome Diagnostics have been working together since August 2006 on the development and commercialization of new product lines in HLA testing. The collaboration is being expanded through the development of additional tests.

The molecular tests to be developed by Genome Diagnostics target the detection of genetic variations in the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) complex. The assays are based on Qiagen’s ‘Pyrosequencing’ and other sequencing technologies for fast, cost effective and accurate analysis of HLA sequences. It allows for direct detection of unknown polymorphisms.

The companies said that the application areas for the new tests include prevention and personalized healthcare, where HLA testing is considered to be important. The new product portfolio include tests for the biomarker HLA DQA1 gene.

Other biomarkers targeted by the new tests include the identification of alleles, DNA sequences of a particular gene, within the groups HLA-B*27 and HLA-B*57.

Bob Barrett, vice president of global marketing, molecular diagnostics at Qiagen, said: “Sequence based HLA typing is a fast growing market with significant potential. Since HLA genes are increasingly associated with a growing number of diseases and the patients’ response to drugs, HLA testing allows for the assessment of disease risks and for the development of tailored treatments.

“That’s why the tests we develop as a result of this collaboration make a perfect addition to our molecular diagnostics portfolio for applications in prevention and personalized healthcare.”