The Biofactory, a biomedical incubator based in Singapore, has launched a new genetic test at MEDICA 2012, the world's largest medical trade fair. Called FastFraX, this genetic test is able to effectively screen for Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), a genetic condition that is the most common form of inherited intellectual disability. This new test is available for the global research community and The Biofactory is proactively reaching out to genetic laboratories and research organisations across Europe. The underlying technology for FastFraX was developed by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS).
A team led by Associate Professor Samuel Chong, from the Department of Paediatrics of the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, developed highly-sensitive genetic probes for detecting the genetic mutation associated with FXS. The probes are used to amplify regions of the affected gene. Subsequent Melting Curve Analysis of amplified products offers a simple first line test for FXS. Normal and diseased genes are differentiated based on the different melting temperatures of the products, which relate to the expansion mutation associated with FXS. These probes are being developed further by The Biofactory into various tests for FXS. The NUS Department of Paediatrics is a leader in research into childhood diseases. It seeks to understand how such diseases develop, testing new diagnostic and treatment modalities, and finding better solutions for patients. The Biofactory worked with the NUS Industry Liaison Office (a division of NUS Enterprise) to license this patented technology and is now commercialising and bringing it to market.
"At The Biofactory, we focus on developing ideas and innovations into commercialisable products. We immediately saw strong potential in this technology, both as a research-grade test, which we are launching today, as well as a diagnostic kit, which we are now developing and plan to launch in 2013. FastFraX is superior to existing tests for FXS, as it is simpler, faster, more cost-effective and suitable for large scale testing," said Mr Theodore Tan, Managing Director, The Biofactory.