Baylor College of Medicine increases fleet of Roche Genome Sequencer FLX Systems to 10 instruments

October 23, 2007

INDIANAPOLIS--The Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine boosted its sequencing capabilities with an agreement to acquire seven additional Genome Sequencer FLX Systems from 454 Life Sciences, a Roche company.

With 10 Genome Sequencer FLX Systems, the Human Genome Sequencing Center will be in a unique position to apply 454 Life Sciences technologies to problems ranging from the deciphering of new genomes to the analysis of mutations associated with human diseases.

"These instruments previously proved their capabilities in the arena of whole genome sequencing," said Richard Gibbs, Professor and Director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine, a former member of the 454 Life Sciences Scientific Advisory Board until March 2007. "Now they have demonstrated their potential role in large scale mutation detection."

To better understand genetic basis for disease - including cancer, heart disease, and asthma - genomic information from large numbers of individuals need to be analyzed in a rapid and cost-effective manner. Rapid DNA sequencing technologies allow researchers to identify all genetic changes when comparing healthy individuals to those with disease.

"This purchase helps demonstrate that the GS FLX is a proven technology with nearly 100 published peer-review articles," said Lonnie Shoff, Senior Vice President of Molecular Diagnostics and Applied Science for Roche Diagnostics. "We see the GS FLX being used in production sequencing due to the system's scalability to support both small and very large projects, along with the instrument's durability, which allows it to be run continuously."

These efforts using the Genome Sequencer FLX are further enhanced by a collaboration with the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine and another Roche company, Roche NimbleGen. Preliminary work from the collaboration was reported in Nature Methods this week, and uses microarrays to capture up to 6,500 human gene parts, or 'exons,' for sequence analysis, reducing the dependence on large-scale polymerase chain reaction.

"With this combination of 454 and NimbleGen methods, we have an unprecedented ability to detect changes across the human genome," said Gibbs.

The new Genome Sequencer FLX systems will also be applied to the analysis of bacterial genomes in a National Institutes of Health supported effort to analyze 'metagenomes' - collections of bacteria that live in human hosts both normally and in infectious disease.

"The GS FLX system has been remarkably successful--not only for human medical resequencing--but also for microbial genome sequencing. Expanding our sequencing capabilities with the additional systems figures prominently in our plans for the Human Microbiome Project," said George Weinstock, co-Director and leader of its Microbial Genomics Programs for the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine.

In addition to the purchase agreement, the Human Genome Sequencing Center and Roche also expanded their prior collaboration. The center will obtain early access to next generation updates to the Genome Sequencer FLX system. The system improvements will include an increase in sequence read length beyond 400 base pairs. The net result will be a sequencing solution that generates more than 1 billion bases per day. Other updates focus on improvements that make it easier to routinely sequence human genomes. These system improvements include enhancements in the reagents and software, utilizing the same hardware configuration that is currently available and purchased as part of this agreement.
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454 Life Sciences develops and commercializes the innovative Genome Sequencer™ system for ultra-high-throughput DNA sequencing. Specific applications include de novo sequencing and re-sequencing of genomes, metagenomics, RNA analysis, and targeted sequencing of DNA regions of interest. The hallmarks of 454 Sequencing™ are its simple, unbiased sample preparation and long, highly accurate sequence reads, including paired reads. 454 Sequencing technology has enabled many peer-reviewed studies in diverse research fields such as cancer and infectious disease research, drug discovery, marine biology, anthropology, paleontology and many more.

For additional information, please visit http://www.454.com.

About Roche and the Roche Diagnostics Division

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world's leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As a supplier of innovative 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 a world leader in diagnostics, the leading supplier of drugs for cancer and transplantation and a market leader in virology. In 2006, sales by the Pharmaceuticals Division totaled 33.3 billion Swiss francs, and the Diagnostics Division posted sales of 8.7 billion Swiss francs. Roche employs roughly 75,000 people in 150 countries and has R&D agreements and strategic alliances with numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai. Roche's Diagnostics Division offers a uniquely broad product portfolio and supplies a wide array of innovative testing products and services to researchers, physicians, patients, hospitals and laboratories world-wide. For further information, please visit our U.S. website at www.roche-diagnostics.us.

All trademarks used or mentioned in this release are legally protected by law.

Roche Diagnostics

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