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Pacific Biosciences and GenDx Initiate Co-Marketing Activities for Full-Length HLA Gene Sequencing Products

UTRECHT, The Netherlands and MENLO PARK, Calif., June 19, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc., (Nasdaq:PACB) provider of the PacBio® RS II DNA Sequencing System, and GenDx, a pioneer in the area of sequence-based typing and next-generation sequencing for HLA typing, today announced a co-marketing agreement to offer products for full-length HLA gene sequencing.

The Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) system consists of a large family of highly variable genes and allelic variants that forms the basis of the human immune system. High-resolution HLA typing and sequencing of the complete gene enables determination of even the smallest variations between HLA alleles. HLA allele-specific genotyping is critical for autoimmune disease-association studies, drug hypersensitivity research and other applications. Thus, there has been an ever growing interest in characterizing the HLA genes in their entirety.

GenDx, which currently offers reagents for the amplification of full-length, Class I HLA genes, will offer a version of its NGSgo® reagent line with barcoded primers developed with Pacific Biosciences for sequencing on the PacBio RS II DNA sequencing system. Using the GenDx NGSengine® software package to analyze data from the PacBio system provides customers with a highly accurate, allele-level HLA typing solution. This new reagent kit will allow the pooling of full-length, Class I HLA genes from multiple samples into a single sequencing run. More information about the new solution and ordering information can be found at http://www.gendx.com/pacbio-ngs.

"With extraordinarily long reads and industry-leading accuracy, Single Molecule, Real-time (SMRT®) Sequencing really addresses the unique needs of the HLA research community," said Kevin Corcoran, Senior Vice President of Market Development for Pacific Biosciences. "We are eager to expand our growing capabilities in this field through this partnership with GenDx, which will open the doors for high-quality HLA typing to all interested researchers, not just those who have developed their own custom primer sets."

Wietse Mulder, PhD, managing director of GenDx, commented: "The whole HLA gene sequencing approach, originally developed at GenDx for Sanger sequencing, has been tested on thousands of samples and validated such that both alleles of each HLA gene are amplified. We are excited that this amplification approach combined with PacBio's SMRT Sequencing technology may now result in fully phased genotypes and has the potential of unambiguous typing results. We trust that this initiative will significantly enhance the tissue-typing strategies exploited in the HLA field."

Mats Bengtsson, MD, PhD, Head of Transplant Immunology laboratory, Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology at the University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden commented: "We believe the exceptionally long reads provided by Pacific Biosciences' SMRT Sequencing combined with the quick turn-around time for processing of samples will be a game-changer for HLA typing applications. Furthermore, the ability to obtain fully phased genotypes, attain unambiguous typing results, and identify new alleles is unprecedented."

About the PacBio RS II and SMRT Sequencing

Pacific Biosciences' SMRT Sequencing technology achieves the industry's longest read lengths, highest consensus accuracyi,ii and the least degree of bias.iii These characteristics, combined with the ability to detect many types of DNA base modifications (e.g., methylation) as part of the sequencing process, make the PacBio RS II an essential tool for many scientists studying genetic and genomic variation. The PacBio platform provides a sequencing solution that can address a growing number of complex medical, agricultural and industrial problems.

About Pacific Biosciences

Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. (Nasdaq:PACB) offers the PacBio RS II DNA Sequencing System to help scientists solve genetically complex problems. Based on its novel Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) technology, the company's products enable: targeted sequencing to more comprehensively characterize genetic variations; de novo genome assembly to more fully identify, annotate and decipher genomic structures; and DNA base modification identification to help characterize epigenetic regulation and DNA damage. By providing access to information that was previously inaccessible, Pacific Biosciences enables scientists to increase their understanding of biological systems. More information is available at www.pacb.com

About GenDx

GenDx is a Dutch molecular diagnostics company that develops and markets a comprehensive line of In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) tests and services, analysis software and education. The company is a pioneer in the area of Sequence-Based Typing (SBT) for transplantation. GenDx supports the software package SBTengine® and reagent line SBTexcellerator® for Sanger based sequencing approaches to numerous laboratories specialized in transplantation worldwide. Recently GenDx started development of full workflows for multiple NGS platforms and has launched the NGSgo® reagent line and NGSengine® software package. In addition, GenDx offers custom laboratory services for basic and clinical research organisations. Furthermore, in the HLA-field, GenDx is renowned for organizing dedicated HLA-SBT training courses worldwide on a regular basis for personnel of tissue typing laboratories, blood banks and donor registries. GenDx is a trade name of Genome Diagnostics BV that was founded in 2005 as a spin-off of the University Medical Centre, Utrecht, the Netherlands. Dr. Erik Rozemuller and Dr. Wietse Mulder are co-founders of GenDx. Further information on GenDx can be found at www.gendx.com.

i Koren et al., "Reducing assembly complexity of microbial genomes with single-molecule sequencing." Genome Biology, 14:R10.1 (2013).

ii Chin et al., "Nonhybrid, finished microbial genome assemblies from long-read SMRT sequencing data." Nature Methods, 10; 563-569 (2013).

iii Ross et al. Characterizing and measuring bias in sequence data. Genome Biol 14: R51 (2013).

CONTACT: For Pacific Biosciences: Media: Nicole Litchfield For Pacific Biosciences 415.793.6468 nicole@bioscribe.com Investors: Trevin Rard Pacific Biosciences 650.521.8450 ir@pacificbiosciences.comSource:Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc.