OTTAWA, Ontario - The field of DNA microarray technology is expanding, and Toronto-based genomics company Tm Bioscience Corp. want to become a recognized leader through the development and commercialization of proprietary DNA-based technologies for application in biochips, diagnostics and genomic analysis.

As part of its strategy for growth, Tm has enlisted the services of the Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI) Microarray Facility at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, one of Canada's premier DNA microarray synthesis facilities. The company has entered into an agreement on DNA biochip technology under which OCI will provide Tm with biochip development and technical services for its Tm-ONE DNA biochip technology access platform. This Tm-ONE platform provides early access for proprietary, high-performance technologies that enable high-quality information output from DNA biochips.

According to Gregory Hines, newly appointed president and CEO at Tm, "There is an immense role for the genomics industry to play in the future of health care. The application of genomic technologies for the development of new medicines and for the diagnosis of human disease represents two critical areas for the advancement of health care over the next decade. I believe that Tm Bioscience has the potential to offer substantial solutions in both areas."

The focus of the company has been on the physical chemistry of DNA, which it feels gives it a unique edge. Since one of the key steps to control microarray performance is nucleic acid hybridization, and because probe and target strands hybridize on microarrays at varying rates of efficiency, data interpretation is often difficult and often subject to error. Tm's technology is designed to offer a solution by precisely controlling probe target hybridization on microarrays and in complex mixtures of sequences using ligands. Tm has filed several patents in the area of ligand controlled hybridization.

In addition, Tm's novel nucleic acid capture probes enhance the efficiency of probe target hybridization in many currently available DNA diagnostic and microarray platforms. Compared to linear capture probes, which are traditionally used in microarray formats, the company's hairpin capture moieties significantly reduces non-specific hybridization events and increases the sensitivity of detection. Further, the hairpin capture moiety shows a significant advantage in capture efficiency compared to traditional linear capture probes at extremely low concentrations of nucleic acid target, the company said.

Providing access to these technologies through its Tm-ONE platform will give companies a chance to evaluate their potential, and the company hopes that would lead to licensing agreements for those enabling technologies.

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