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Quest Diagnostics and Genomic Vision Form Strategic Collaboration to Develop Genome-based Laboratory Tests
Date:7/14/2011

MADISON, N.J. and PARIS, July 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), the world's leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services, and Genomic Vision, a biotechnology company dedicated to the development of molecular diagnostics, today announced a multi-year exclusive collaboration involving Genomic Vision's proprietary molecular combing genomic-analysis technology.  

Under terms of the agreement, Quest Diagnostics has exclusive rights to develop and offer clinical- and research-use laboratory testing services based on Genomic Vision's molecular combing (also known as DNA combing) technique in the United States, India and Mexico. Genomic Vision will retain rights to market new testing services that emerge from the collaboration's research and development in Europe (with the exception of the United Kingdom), the Middle East and Africa. Quest Diagnostics has also made an equity investment for an undisclosed sum in Genomic Vision. Additional terms were not disclosed.

"Genomic Vision's DNA combing technology is a potential game changer in genomic analysis," said Jay G. Wohlgemuth, M.D., vice president, science and innovation, Quest Diagnostics. "Similar to how microarrays introduced an entirely new concept to analyze genetic alterations, DNA combing, by facilitating analysis of single DNA molecules, could radically improve our understanding of disease-causing mutations and, in turn, clinical testing and drug development."

DNA combing is an analytical technique that involves stretching coils of DNA into straight chains to facilitate direct high-resolution analysis of targeted areas of the human genome. Developed from research at the Pasteur Institute, the technique detects genetic mutations, most notably large scale gene rearrangements (in a range of one thousand to over a million DNA base pairs in length), which current DNA analytical technologies cannot detect.

"Quest Diagnostics has a superb track record of turning cutting-edge genetic research and techniques into clinically validated diagnostics," said Founder, CEO and molecular combing inventor Dr. Aaron Bensimon. "Our collaboration with Quest Diagnostics puts molecular combing on track to fulfill its potential to help improve disease detection and new drug development for patients worldwide."

"Quest Diagnostics has a unique ability to collaborate with innovative companies like Genomic Vision to develop advanced genetic tests that serve unmet patient needs," said Kathy P. Ordonez, senior vice president, discovery and development, Quest Diagnostics. "We look forward to incorporating Genomic Vision's unique DNA combing technology into new diagnostic tests that can help identify the genetic causes of disease missed by other techniques." 

Quest Diagnostics expects to validate and release the first laboratory developed test based on molecular combing, for aiding the detection of individuals affected with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, in 2012. The companies will also focus on developing tests for cancer and neurological disorders, with testing services to be offered to clients of Quest Diagnostics. Quest Diagnostics may also offer molecular combing-based laboratory testing services for new drug development to pharmaceutical companies through its clinical trials business and for research use to academic institutions, beginning in 2012.

About Genomic Vision

Genomic Vision is a Paris-based biotechnology company which develops and commercializes novel diagnostic tests in the field of cancer and genetic diseases. Backed by blue-chip venture capital investors Amundi Private Equity Funds and Vesalius Biocapital, the Company holds an exclusive license from the Pasteur Institute for the exploitation of Molecular Combing - a technology which enables the direct visualization and quantification of the large genome rearrangements which underlie many diseases. In collaboration with the Timone Hospital in Marseilles (France) and thanks to funding from the French Muscular Dystrophy Association (Association Francaise contre les Myopathies, AFM), Genomic Vision has developed its first test for the diagnostics of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, a genetic disease. The company is now going to accelerate the implementation of its technology platform within European reference centers for genetic testing. For more information, visit www.genomicvision.com.

About molecular combing

Molecular Combing was co-invented by Dr. Aaron Bensimon. It enables the direct visualization of single DNA molecules and dramatically improves the genome-wide structural and functional analysis of DNA to identify disease-linked mutations. In the Molecular Combing process, the DNA fibers are attached to a specially-treated glass surface and then stretched and uniformly aligned ("combed"), in order to identify genetic rearrangements thanks to hybridization with specific fluorescent probes. Molecular Combing allows single-pass, high-resolution analysis of whole genomes and direct visualization of genomic defects that often cannot be detected by conventional technologies.

About Quest Diagnostics

Quest Diagnostics is the world's leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services that patients and doctors need to make better healthcare decisions. The company offers the broadest access to diagnostic testing services through its network of laboratories and patient service centers, and provides interpretive consultation through its extensive medical and scientific staff. Quest Diagnostics is a pioneer in developing innovative new diagnostic tests and advanced healthcare information technology solutions that help improve patient care.  Additional company information is available at QuestDiagnostics.com.

Follow us at Facebook.com/QuestDiagnostics and Twitter.com/QuestDX.

Quest, Quest Diagnostics, the associated logo, Nichols Institute and all associated Quest Diagnostics marks are the registered trademarks of Quest Diagnostics. All third party marks -- ®' and (TM)' -- are the property of their respective owners. © 2000-2011 Quest Diagnostics Incorporated. All rights reserved.

Press contacts

Quest Diagnostics Contacts:
Wendy Bost (Media): 973-520-2800
Kathleen Valentine (Investors): 973-520-2900

Genomic Vision
Erwan Martin, VP Corporate Development
Tel.: +33 (0)684 974 914
e.martin@genomicvision.com

ALIZE RP
Caroline Carmagnol
Tel.: +33(0)142 688 643
caroline@alizerp.com
Anne-Sophie Cosqueric
Tel.: +33 (0)142 688 641
anne-sophie@alizerp.com


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