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Almac challenges "one-size-fits-all" DNA analysis with new custom-fit service

By Natalie Morrison , 02-Feb-2012
Last updated the 02-Feb-2012 at 13:16 GMT

Almac says its first leap into Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) data analysis services is a much needed-change from the industry’s current “one-size-fits-all” offering.

This week the firm announced it would for the first time offer full services in both downstream and upstream RNA and DNA sequencing analysis focussed on biomarkers and the clinical delivery of biomarkers.

Austin Tanney, scientific liaison manager for the company, told Outsourcing-Pharma: “This is a response to the market currently. When we launched the bioformatics business last year there was an element of NGS analysis that did very well, so we decided to expand.”

The firm now hopes the provision – offered through its diagnostics business – will allow as full a service as possible, but with one key difference to those that have gone before it: it will be customisable.

Gavin Oliver, team leader of sequence analysis at Almac, told Outsourcing-Pharma: “Basically, we’re leaving the option of how to use the service open to the customer, and will work with them at every stage.

“Clients can sequence RNA and DNA with us, or can come to us when they have data from a sequence provider and don’t know what to do with it.”

The service encompasses QC, filtration, alignment of the genome, and other sorts of functional downstream analysis Almac have been developing over the years.

The firm also offers upstream processing such as sample receipt, and sample randomisation, as well as overall project management.

“We want to offer a tool box solution so people can come at any stage and we can get the results they need,” Oliver added.

Custom-fit

Almac says its service is unique because, unlike other providers, it will “hold the customers’ hand” throughout the analysis.

Tanney said: “From talking to customers, we found that people are going to sequencing providers who take the data, do all the work without liaising with the customer then just hand them the resulting data.

“Quite often, the client doesn’t know what to do with it.”

Oliver added that the team would develop the technology to suit the individual needs of the clients.

“We’ve found that customers are often forced to use a tech that isn’t necessarily the best for their needs,” he said. “It’s a sort of one-size-fits-all approach, which isn’t the best because it isn’t tailored to the customer and what they need.”

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