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Roche NimbleGen Microarrays Selected as Technology of Choice for the Neuromuscular Disorder -Chip Consortium

(PresseBox) (Madison, WI, USA, ) The NMD-Chip Consortium, an initiative of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, recently selected Roche NimbleGen microarrays to accelerate and simplify genetic research of neuromuscular disorders (NMDs).

The NMD-Chip Consortium is comprised of 13 European entities from eight countries whose goal is to further our understanding of NMDs and to investigate the possibilties of developing a faster, more cost-effective investigation and diagnosis (72 hours to one week versus the current time of two weeks to one year) in the future. Pr Nicolas Levy, University of the Mediterranée and French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM), cites the importance of the Roche NimbleGen solution for NMD research: "As the European coordinator of the NMD-Chip project, I surely rely on Roche NimbleGen's very high density array technology, which is the most powerful tool to fulfill our project goals. Combined with our new bioinformatics tools, such technologies should completely renew our point of view on NMDs, by providing fast, reliable and accurate answers, at a much lower cost than ever before."

Inherited NMDs form a very large and diverse group of genetic diseases that cause progressive degeneration of the muscles and/or motor nerves that control movements. An estimated 1 out of 1,000 people may have a disabling inherited neuromuscular disease. The NMD-Chip Consortium aims to foster the research on NMDs by using a gene candidate approach to assess known forms as well as to characterize unknown forms of these disorders.

The Consortium will use custom designed NimbleGen Human CGH (Comparative Genomic Hybridization) 12x135K microarrays to enable them to locate gene- and exon-level rearrangements, deletions, or insertions associated with a specific NMD, namely Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophies, limb girdle muscular dystrophies, congenital muscular dystrophies, and hereditary motor-sensory neuropathies or Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathies. These high-throughput CGH arrays will speed discovery by allowing 12 research samples to be processed at the same time on a single array which will also reduce the cost per sample.

In addition, the Consortium will use customized NimbleGen Human Sequence Capture 385K arrays to capture DNA fragments of all known genes implied in a given group of NMDs. This technology when coupled with high-throughput sequencing like 454 sequencing will provide quick evaluation of the gene variation underlying the NMDs being researched.

According to Gerd Maass, CEO of Roche NimbleGen, "Roche NimbleGen is proud to be a solution provider for this important European initiative in the area of NMD research. Efforts such as the NMD-Chip Consortium allow researchers to work together to decipher the intricacies of human genetic variation underlying diseases, such as NMDs thereby paving the path to treatment and improving the quality of life of those affected. Innovative technologies such as NimbleGen CGH and Sequence Capture arrays will play a key role in furthering this and other types life science research that have such a significant impact on these disease areas."

Roche NimbleGen is a leading innovator, manufacturer, and supplier of a proprietary suite of DNA microarrays, consumables, instruments and services. Roche NimbleGen produces high-density arrays of long oligonucleotide probes that provide greater information content and higher data quality necessary for studying the full diversity of genomic and epigenomic variation. The enhanced performance is made possible by Roche NimbleGen's proprietary Maskless Array Synthesis (MAS) technology, which uses digital light processing and rapid, high-yield photochemistry to synthesize long oligonucleotide, high-density DNA microarrays with extreme flexibility. For more information about Roche NimbleGen, please visit the company's website at www.nimblegen.com

Inserm is the only French public research body entirely dedicated to human health. Its researchers are committed to studying all diseases, whether common or rare, through their research in the fields of biology, medicine and public health. In order to fulfill this mission, the Institute has worked in close partnership with other public or private research institutions and care centers such as. hospitals from the outset. 13,000 people (including 6000 researchers) work in Inserm's 316 research laboratories located all over France. Additional information is available on the Internet at www.inserm.fr/en

About Roche Diagnostics Deutschland GmbH

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world's leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As the world's biggest biotech company and an innovator of products and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, the Group contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving people's health and quality of life. Roche is the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics and drugs for cancer and transplantation and is a market leader in virology. It is also active in other major therapeutic areas such as autoimmune diseases, inflammatory and metabolic disorders and diseases of the central nervous system. In 2008 sales by the Pharmaceuticals Division totalled 36.0 billion Swiss francs, and the Diagnostics Division posted sales of 9.7 billion francs. Roche has R&D agreements and strategic alliances with numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai, and invested nearly 9 billion Swiss francs in R&D in 2008. Worldwide, the Group employs about 80,000 people. Additional information is available on the Internet at www.roche.com.

NIMBLEGEN is a trademark of Roche.

454, 454 SEQUENCING, 454 LIFE SCIENCES, and GS FLX TITANIUM are trademarks of Roche.

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