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RainDance and Scripps to Collaborate on Targeted Sequencing for 'Wellderly' Study
Date:8/28/2008

LEXINGTON, Mass., Aug. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- RainDance Technologies, Inc., a provider of innovative droplet-based solutions for human health and disease research, today announced a collaboration with the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) to utilize RainDance's new RainStorm(TM) technology as a solution to a key bottleneck in large-scale targeted sequencing studies.

"RainDance is proud to support STSI in its exciting effort to discover inherited genetic variations that may play a role in preserving health," said Chris McNary, President and Chief Executive Officer, RainDance Technologies. "We believe our collaboration will accelerate the completion of the program's research objectives by using RainDance's Sequence Enrichment application to enhance the efficiency of STSI's next-generation sequencing technology. In addition, our participation will help optimize experimental procedures as we prepare for release of our platform in the fourth quarter," McNary said.

STSI's genomic researchers are now looking to America's healthy elderly, known as the wellderly -- those 80 years and older with no history of chronic disease -- to help them unlock the genetic secrets behind lifelong health. The Wellderly Study is currently recruiting volunteers from across America to donate their DNA to the project's gene bank. These samples will be studied by STSI researchers to uncover the protective elements of the human genetic code. RainDance's initial work will be a proof-of-principle study to show the effectiveness of its RainStorm technology for amplifying a large number of genomic loci across a diverse set of samples.

"Looking at the genes of healthy elderly people is a unique approach to understanding the underpinning biology of health," said Eric J. Topol, M.D., Director of Scripps Translational Science Institute. "This new technology will assist us in our effort to unlock these genetic secrets of lifelong health."

To maximize the efficiency of its second-generation genome sequencing technology for the study's large number of samples, Scripps will need a method of isolating biologically relevant genomic loci on the megabase scale. RainDance's Sequence Enrichment application leverages the RainStorm technology to enable researchers to perform millions of individual PCR reactions per day using conventional thermocyclers. The application can achieve high levels of DNA amplification using small amounts of sample for a theoretically unlimited number of targeted loci.

"RainDance's system can achieve this performance while maintaining a uniform representation across all targeted loci -- greatly increasing the capacity of STSI second-generation DNA sequencers and dramatically improving their efficiency," said McNary.

About Scripps Translational Science Institute

Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) is an initiative of Scripps Health and The Scripps Research Institute that supports basic research and clinical programs focused on defining the genes that underlie susceptibility to disease, and will take these findings into drug discovery programs and clinical trials. STSI's work involves genotyping tens of thousands of individuals of diverse ancestry in an attempt to identify and define genes responsible for major disease and the underpinnings of health.

The identification of these genes will lead to drug discovery and gene-specific clinical trials. STSI, in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) consortium, is transforming how clinical and translational research is conducted, ultimately enabling researchers to provide new treatments more efficiently and quickly to patients. To learn more about the Wellderly Study, call 1-800-SCRIPPS. For more information on STSI, visit http://www.stsiweb.org.

About Scripps Health

Founded in 1924 by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, Scripps Health is a $2 billion non-profit community health system based in San Diego, California. Scripps treats a half-million patients annually through the dedication of 2,600 affiliated physicians and 12,200 employees among its five acute-care hospital campuses, home health care services, and an ambulatory care network of clinics, physician offices and outpatient centers. Recognized as a leader in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, Scripps is also at the forefront of clinical research and graduate medical education. In 2007, Scripps committed more than $150 million in capital and facility improvements across the San Diego region while providing significant charity care to the community. Scripps Health includes: Scripps Green Hospital, Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, two Scripps Mercy Hospital campuses, 10 Scripps Clinic locations, 10 Scripps Coastal Medical Center locations, and Scripps Home Health Care Services. More information can be found at http://www.scripps.org.

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute is one of the world's largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations, at the forefront of basic biomedical science that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its discoveries in immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases, and synthetic vaccine development. Established in its current configuration in 1961, it employs approximately 3,000 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, scientific and other technicians, doctoral degree graduate students, and administrative and technical support personnel. Scripps Research is headquartered in La Jolla, California. It also includes Scripps Florida, whose researchers focus on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development. Currently operating from temporary facilities in Jupiter, Scripps Florida will move to its permanent campus by 2009. More information can be found at http://www.scripps.edu.

About RainDance Technologies, Inc.

RainDance Technologies is a provider of innovative droplet-based microfluidic solutions for human health and disease research. The speed and simplicity of the company's exciting new technology enable researchers to design experiments in ways that were previously unaffordable or unimaginable.

The company's RainStorm technology produces picoliter-volume droplets at a rate of 10 million per hour. Each droplet is the functional equivalent of an individual test tube and can contain a single molecule, reaction, or cell. This versatile technology can adapt highly referenced assays for high-speed workflows with minimized process-induced bias or error.

RainDance's initial application will focus on the targeted resequencing of the human genome -- one of the fastest-growing segments of the $1 billion DNA sequencing market. This application will enable the high-resolution analysis of genetic variation between individuals and populations at a level unmatched by current methodology.

RainDance was founded in 2004 by scientists from Harvard University; the Medical Research Centre in Cambridge, England; and the ESPCI in Paris. The promise of this technology has attracted an outstanding Scientific Advisory Board. RainDance advisers include three Nobel Prize winners: Jean-Marie Lehn (Chemistry, 1987), Aaron Klug (Chemistry, 2002), and Sir Richard Roberts (Physiology or Medicine, 1993), as well as Sir Gregory Winter, joint head of the British Division of Protein and Nucleic Acids Chemistry at the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge.

For more information, please visit http://www.raindancetech.com.


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SOURCE RainDance Technologies, Inc.
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