OpGen Announces Partnership with University of California, Davis, to Develop High Resolution Microbial Genetic Maps in Support of The 100K Genome Project

Gaithersburg, Md. -- 12/19/12
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Whole Genome Maps to Aid in Outbreak Management and Surveillance of Food Borne Illnesses

OpGen, Inc. today announced the company has entered into a scientific and technical partnership with the University of California, Davis, (UC Davis) in cooperation with the FDA supported 100K Genome Project to create high resolution microbial genetic maps.

The 100K Genome Project is a collaboration that was initiated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), UC Davis, and Agilent Technologies to sequence the genetic code of at least 100,000 infectious organisms and accelerate the diagnosis of foodborne illnesses. UC Davis will integrate OpGen’s Argus Whole Genome Mapping System into its current DNA sequencing workflow for sequence assembly and validation of the genomes.

Through the integration of OpGen’s Whole Genome Mapping technology, The 100K Genome Project will create a new gold standard for high-quality microbial reference genomes. These data will be used in the surveillance and management of international foodborne microbial outbreaks, and to establish a high-fidelity global reference database for microbial genomes. The 100K Genome Project will publish the genomes that are completed and validated using OpGen’s Whole Genome Maps to a database, providing access to the genomic maps for public health agencies throughout the world. The FDA is advocating rigorous quality control standards for this reference database whereby genomic information should be validated by two independent methods.

“OpGen’s technology allows us to complete sequencing and provide quality control of genomes drafted by data produced using short read next-generation sequencing methods,” said Bart C. Weimer, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Population and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, and Director of The 100K Pathogen Genome Project. “Whole Genome Mapping provides an independent method to detect sequence variations and misassemblies, and aids us in closing the gaps. Final Whole Genome Maps will assist health agencies in outbreak management of food borne diseases which cause tremendous risk to public health.”

“We are pleased to be a partner in this collaboration with UC Davis and the FDA in helping to set a high-quality, validated standard for this important reference database of microbes, which pose the greatest threats to food safety and public health,” said Douglas White, Chief Executive Officer of OpGen. “OpGen is committed to advancing public health and providing actionable information to the healthcare community.” 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year roughly one in six Americans (or 48 million people) become sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.1 There are 31 known foodborne pathogens, including SalmonellaListeria, and E. coli, among others.1 Many of these pathogens are tracked by public health systems that track diseases and outbreaks.1   Rapid identification and detection of these pathogens can lead to more effective control and management of microbial disease outbreaks.

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/2011-foodborne-estimates.html

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