Genomic Vision: Reading Between the Lines of the Genetic Code
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Dr. Aaron Bensimon, President & CEO
Every species is born with a unique genetic markup. In human, for example, this genetic blueprint lays out the basic characteristics of individual personalities, physical health, and appearance. However, identical mutations of the same genes in two individuals result in similar positive or negative outcomes, as often seen in the case of genetic diseases. When Dr. Aaron Bensimon, a researcher from the Pasteur Institute, discovered a novel way to stretch single DNA molecules, he realized the significant role it can play as a diagnostic tool for many of the decade’s grim oncogenic and genetic diseases. In a bid to make the technology available to the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Bensimon patented his discovery and founded Genomic Vision in 2005, which led to building a business around it with applications in different domains.
The isolation and stretching of single DNA molecules or Molecular Combing can arrange DNA strands in a uniform way. Researchers can use Genomic Vision’s proprietary Genomic Morse Code (GMC) to tag these DNA strands and observe specific genes to easily hunt for aberrations in the DNA that indicate genetic mutations. The first clinical trial conducted using Genomic Vision’s Molecular Combing for detecting muscle dystrophy became successful in 2010. Soon after, Dr. Bensimon, president and CEO of Genomic Vision realized that the discovery would help in the identification of several genetic diseases, and would contribute to advancing in crop science for the characterization of species of interest.
Genomic Vision commercialized its patented Molecular Combing and GMC to offer the benefits of the technology to different pharmaceutical companies and healthcare facilities through their readout platform, the Fiber Vision.
The capability of the platform allows it to read any genome, from bacteria to plant, to human. From DNA purification to data output, the platform provides a complete, flexible, and automated workflow to visualize and analyze DNA for generating easily interpretable results. On a holistic level, Genomic Vision’s comprehensive suite of offering includes a multitude of products and services, including cancer diagnostics and genetic disease detection kits, and the study of DNA replication for academic research purposes, to guide the pharmaceutical industry in fine-tuning and developing the drugs for the inhibition of cancer cell division. Currently, Genomic Vision is assisting in the identification and characterization of major rearrangements that affect genes in genes editing assays.
Another invaluable application of molecular combing and GMC is the early detection of cervical cancer, where human papillomavirus (HPV) exchanges its genetic material with healthy cells in the cervix region. By using the molecular combing approach, oncologists can detect these foreign genes that can lead to cervical cancer. Dr. Bensimon says, “We first look at the genes known to be implicated in genetic diseases or cancer and characterize those genes in a way that we can identify the mutations.”
Dr. Bensimon’s early experience as a researcher enables Genomic Vision to uphold innovations and counter unmet medical needs of the future. At present, the company is working directly with key opinion leaders in different hospitals to have a clear picture of the potential applications of Molecular Combing. Recently, Genomic Vision signed a strategic alliance with Quest Diagnostics to introduce its product lines in the U.S. healthcare ecosystem. Apart from Genomic Vision’s proprietary genetic combing products and tests, Quest Diagnostics aims at developing other unique tests and tools through this alliance. Apart from Quest, Genomic Vision has partnerships with two more healthcare organizations. They have collaborated with Editas Medicine to help them offer quality control in gene editing processes. At the same time, Genomic Vision has partnered with Astra Zeneca to search for new gene-based approaches in drug development for cancer patients. Dr. Bensimon adds, “We want to create partnerships with different pharmaceutical and healthcare companies to find detectable mutations and save lives across the world.”
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