BioWorld International Correspondent

PARIS - Genome Express is developing a platform for the sequencing and annotation of bacterial genomes and plans to offer a "one-stop-shop" service to the health care, agro-food and environmental industries.

Genome Express supplies products and services to support functional genomics and pharmacogenomics research.

It expects to deliver its first such genome, for the Oenicoccus Oeni bacterium, by mid-2002. It is sequencing and annotating the bacterium in collaboration with the French National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA), and has received a grant of EUR1 million (US$910,000) from the French National Research Promotion Agency (Anvar) to help finance the project.

INRA selected the bacterium, which is involved in the fermentation of wine, but which could have wider applications because it has the characteristic of being resistant to acid, Genome Express's communications manager, Fran├žoise Laurent, told BioWorld International. She pointed out that customers could ask Genome Express to map the bacterium of their choice and that the contractual terms would depend on the complexity of the organism, adding that it took an average of six months to complete the sequencing and annotation of a bacterium.

The company, which is based near Grenoble, said it is France's leading custom DNA sequencing specialist and is drawing on both its sequencing and bioinformatics expertise for this service. CEO Yves Laurent said its customers would be able to obtain "not only basic sequence information but also access to qualified and annotated sequences, as well as genes of special interest." The ultimate objective is to "accelerate time to discovery and to enable customers to develop and bring to market new therapeutics and processes," he added.

Genome Express also has drawn on the bioinformatics platform developed by the GenoStar public-private consortium, of which it is a member.

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