RainDance Technologies Teams with Hospital Saint-Louis and BGI to Confirm Mutations Associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Collaboration to further validate the performance of RainDance’s HLASeq™ Research Screening Panel

Lexington, Mass., and Shenzhen, China– RainDance Technologies, Inc., the Digital Biology™ Company, today announced that it is collaborating with the Hôpital Saint-Louis in Paris, France and BGI in China, the world’s largest genomics institute, to discover new variants and confirm findings from a Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) study conducted by researchers at the Hospital Saint-Louis. The collaboration will utilize the unique capabilities of the RainDance HLASeq™ Research Screening Panel to target the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) super-locus.

The HLA super locus is one of the most complex regions in the human genome due to the extreme levels of polymorphism and linkage disequilibrium. RA is an HLA-class II-associated disorder and one of the most common and serious forms of arthritis. An estimated 5 million people suffer from RA in the seven major markets around the world.[1]

“Advances in the diagnosis and treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis are contingent on the identification of common genetic characteristics in the context of auto-immunity,” said Ryad Tamouza, M.D., Ph.D., Head of R&D Immunogenetics, HLA Diseases and Bone Marrow Transplant at the Hôpital Saint-Louis. “In this collaboration with RainDance Technologies and BGI, we aim to confirm data from a previous study and demonstrate a more cost-effective method for discovering new mutations and systematically mapping HLA associations using next-generation sequencing.”

The RainDance HLASeq Research Screening Panel is a single assay that enables scientists to look beyond the common loci and interrogate the HLA super locus (a 3.8Mb gene-rich region on 6p21.3) with unprecedented single-base resolution of both common and rare genetic mutations. The HLASeq panel tiles amplicons across the entire HLA super locus, providing scientists with the ability to apply next-generation sequencing technology more routinely to generate ultra-high resolution HLA typing.

“This collaboration will accelerate the discovery of genetic variants underpinning Rheumatoid Arthritis by joining the expertise of Hôpital Saint-Louis, RainDance Technologies and BGI,” said Hongzhi Cao, Manager of Immunobiology, Science and Technology Division at BGI. “The sequencing and bioinformatics analysis contributed by BGI will support the confirmation and discovery of novel mutations generated by this important research.”

“The RainDance HLASeq panel provides customers with a powerful tool for discovering, and routinely analyzing, causative mutations associated with complex immune disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis,” said Andy Watson, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at RainDance Technologies. “Through our portfolio of innovative solutions built on our proprietary microdroplet technology, we are enabling researchers to conduct studies that were impossible with existing technologies.”

The collaboration will include patient samples provided by the Hôpital Saint-Louis, which is one of the largest HLA centers in Europe. RainDance Technologies will provide sample processing using its Targeted Sequencing Platform and HLASeq Research Screening Panel. The next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics will be provided by BGI. The collaborators are expecting to present data from this collaboration later this year.

For more information about the RainDance Targeted Sequencing Platform and the HLASeq Research Screening Panel, please visit www.RainDanceTech.com/HLASeq.asp.

About RainDance Technologies

RainDance Technologies is pioneering the use of high-throughput microdroplet-based analysis in human health and life science research. The company’s core RainStorm™ technology generates millions of discrete droplets that can encapsulate a single molecule, cell or reaction and be digitally analyzed and sorted one at a time. The power, precision and simplicity of microdroplets enable researchers to answer complex questions with unprecedented sensitivity and quantitation. The complete RainDance solution includes automated instrumentation, customizable bioinformatics and high-value consumables and reagents for applications including targeted next-generation DNA sequencing, methylation, digital PCR and single cell analysis. Based in Lexington, Massachusetts, the company supports scientists around the world through its international sales and support operations and a global network of distributors and service providers. For more information, please visit www.RainDanceTech.com.

About BGI

BGI was founded in Beijing, China, in 1999 with the mission to become a premier scientific partner for the global research community. The goal of BGI is to make leading-edge genomic science highly accessible, which it achieves through its investment in infrastructure, leveraging the best available technology, economies of scale, and expert bioinformatics resources. BGI, and its affiliates, BGI Americas, headquartered in Cambridge, MA, and BGI Europe, headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, have established partnerships and collaborations with leading academic and government research institutions as well as global biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, supporting a variety of disease, agricultural, environmental, and related applications.

BGI has a proven track record of excellence, delivering results with high efficiency and accuracy for innovative, high-profile research: research that has generated over 170 publications in top-tier journals such as Nature and Science. BGI’s many accomplishments include: sequencing one percent of the human genome for the International Human Genome Project, contributing 10 percent to the International Human HapMap Project, carrying out research to combat SARS and German deadly E. coli, playing a key role in the Sino-British Chicken Genome Project, and completing the sequence of the rice genome, the silkworm genome, the first Asian diploid genome, the potato genome, and, more recently, have sequenced the human Gut Metagenome, and a significant proportion of the genomes for the 1000 Genomes Project.

For more information about BGI, please visit www.bgiamericas.com or www.genomics.cn.

For research use only. Not for use in diagnostics procedures.

RainDance Technologies, the RainDance Technologies logo, RainStorm, ThunderStorm, Digital Biology, and HLASeq are trademarks of RainDance Technologies, Inc. All other brands may be trademarks of their respective holders.

Media Contacts:

RainDance Technologies
Colin Sanford
[email protected]


Hongzhi Cao, M.D
Manager of Immunobiology, S&T
[email protected]

Bicheng Yang, Ph.D.
Public Communication Officer
[email protected]


Joyce Peng. Ph.D.
Marketing Director
BGI Americas Corporation
[email protected]


[1] Rheumatoid Arthritis, Biologics battle up the treatment algorithm. Data Monitor, 7 September 2006