OpGen teams with bioinformatics outfit to combat outbreaks

OpGen has beefed up the technology around its whole-genome mapping system, which can be used to spot the DNA fingerprints of pathogens and other molecules. The Gaithersburg, MD-based company has joined forces with Applied Maths NV to integrate whole-genome mapping into Applied Maths' analytical software that can compare the genomes of microbes to identify pathogens.

Bioinformatics have become central to the use of genomics tools such as OpGen's whole-genome mapping system. Genomics heavyweights such as Life Technologies ($LIFE) and Illumina ($ILMN) have all made investments in the information technologies required for their customers to slice and dice genomics data to gain knowledge from massive genomic data sets. Data analytics matter because the cost of interpreting information from next-generation genomics tools can be much greater than sequencing.

OpGen has already found a nice niche for its molecular mapping system in biodefense and other life sciences uses. The technology has the capability of nailing down genome maps to perform typing of pathogens, helping scientists understand the molecular details of harmful bacteria. OpGen applied its system to prove the genetic profile of a deadly E. coli strain from the outbreak in Germany in 2011. 

"The efficient management of food-borne pathogen outbreaks through enhanced approaches for epidemiological surveillance requires the rapid detection of potential outbreaks and improved molecular typing solutions," said Koen Janssens, chief executive officer of Applied Maths, in a statement. "We are pleased to be able to offer our customers access to OpGen's Whole Genome Mapping technology in the recently released version of our BioNumerics software suite."

- here's the release