Exiqon A/S (NASDAQ OMX Copenhagen: "EXQ") announced today that the Harvard Medical School ICCB-Longwood Screening Facility (ICCB-L) has been recognized as a MicroRNA Screening Center of Excellence. ICCB-L supports investigators at Harvard Medical School, and associated hospitals and institutions, for high-throughput screening of small molecule and RNAi libraries.
MicroRNAs are a novel class of small, non-coding RNA species, which have been shown to play a major role in post-transcriptional processing of messenger RNA, including the regulation of many physiological and pathological processes, such as cellular development, cancer, apoptosis, aging, metabolic diseases, and immune responses. The external modulation of microRNA expression levels has been shown to have dramatic impact on cellular phenotype, a result which has promoted the functional analysis of microRNA to the forefront of translational medicine.
ICCB-L will provide the Exiqon LNA(TM) microRNA Knockdown Library as a screening tool for a new consortium of Harvard-affiliated investigators, coordinated by Dr. Neil Kubica of the Blenis Laboratory at Harvard Medical School. The consortium has developed multiple biological models that will be interrogated with the Knockdown Library. The Library contains over 900 specific inhibitors designed for uniform potency, made possible through the incorporation of Exiqon's proprietary LNA(TM) technology.
"My colleagues and I look forward to screening the Knockdown Library. There is a great deal of interest in our community in using miRNA knockdown reagents to study disease-related biology," says Dr. Kubica.
Exiqon recently unveiled its microRNA Centers of Excellence Program -- which has categories for microRNA Profiling (Expression), microRNA detection and imaging (Localization), and microRNA functional studies (Screening) -- to help provide a set of reference laboratories and institutions for researchers new to the field of microRNA study. "More and more researchers are recognizing the importance and relevance of microRNA in their own biological systems under study. But with a variety of methods and solutions from different providers, sometimes researchers aren't sure where to start. It can be overwhelming," says Tom Bishop, Site Director for Exiqon North America. "The microRNA Centers of Excellence are meant to be a roadmap of sorts for researchers new to microRNA -- a panel of experts who demonstrate best-in-class tactics and approaches to microRNA studies."
The microRNA Centers of Excellence Program serves as an example of the collaborative spirit in which microRNA research has blossomed over recent years, according to Exiqon officials. "Exiqon has always been committed to bringing exceptional value in the tools and solutions we provide microRNA researchers, but this is only one piece of the puzzle," says Chris Harbert, Director of Marketing for Exiqon North American Life Sciences. "The real magic occurs when excellence in research tools is combined with excellence in experimental design and implementation. That's what these microRNA Centers of Excellence will bring to the table."