Madison, Conn. – Oct. 1, 2014 – Pattern Genomics, a biotechnology startup company with a software platform that can analyze thousands of genomes to develop sensitive and specific molecular diagnostics, today announced the launch of research that will help to quickly identify enterovirus D68 (EV-D68).
Since mid-August, 500 cases have been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) across the United States and many more are suspected. While EV-D68 causes relatively mild respiratory disease in most in individuals, cases in the current outbreak have progressed to severe respiratory problems in an unusually large number of children, and the virus has also been linked to temporary paralysis. The standard method to identify EV-D68 takes a week or more at specialized laboratories.
“In response to this outbreak, in less than a day we were able to download more than 1,000 whole genome enterovirus sequences and use our software to identify a candidate DNA signature specific to EV-D68,” said Dr. Daniel Fasulo, president of Pattern Genomics. “Currently, there is no simple diagnostic specifically for EV-D68 and the goal of this research is to develop a rapid test to complement more comprehensive surveillance tools such as DNA sequencing.”
With the high degree of variability in RNA viral genomes, Pattern Genomics is leveraging as much data as possible in the analysis. After performing the initial design on whole genome data, the company also compared the signature to tens of thousands of partial enterovirus sequences in NCBI GenBank and confirmed that the DNA sequences identified by the software appear to be found reliably in EV-D68 while having substantial differences from even the most closely-related enteroviruses.
Pattern Genomics will conduct additional lab testing to prove the validity of the genomic markers and is currently seeking partners such as diagnostics providers and public health laboratories to finalize, validate, and launch an EV-D68 assay.
About Pattern Genomics
Pattern Genomics, based in Madison, Conn., is a biotechnology startup that uses its proprietary Daydreamer™ bioinformatics platform to design highly sensitive and specific molecular diagnostics in strategic partnership with diagnostic companies and laboratories. Daydreamer™ is capable of simultaneously analyzing large numbers of genomes and selecting optimal primers and probes for a specified detection technology, thus assuring sensitivity across a broad range of strains and specificity to the target genomes. The company, founded by Daniel Fasulo, Ph.D., was a recent participant in the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council MassCONNECT Mentoring Program and is funded by Connecticut Innovations and private investors. For more information, please visit: www.patterngenomics.com.