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A*STAR's Genome Institute of Singapore Partners Oxford Biodynamics to Discover and Monitor Cells for Pathologies or Abnormalities

5/10/2013 9:25:17 AM

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Singapore, 10th May 2013 – The Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and Oxford Biodynamics (OBD) will collaborate to identify epigenetic signatures utilising OBD’s proprietary EpiSwitchTM biomarker discovery platform that can robustly differentiate or confirm the epigenetic footprint of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (IPSCs), Embryonic Stem Cells (EC-ESCs) or Progenitor Cells from representative cell lines.

Epigenetic regulation in human cells is responsible for a large spectrum of inheritable, programmed changes in gene activities and the biochemical properties of the cells. Epigenetic regulation does not alter the original genetic information encoded in every human cell, hence the Greek prefix epi- (?p?), which brings the meaning of “beyond-” or “post-genetics”.

Monitoring the epigenetic status of the cell becomes fundamentally important for the correct assessment of its properties, functions and any signs of pathologies or abnormalities.

The EpiSwitchTM platform is a unique world class industrial platform that allows scientists to discover and monitor highly specific epigenetic biomarkers, called chromosome conformation signatures, which define and control key aspects of epigenetic and gene regulation.

The new collaboration is an important advancement for current stem technology, as the control of the quality of epigenetic differentiation of stem cells remains one of the most important problems. In their first and immediate application EpiSwitchTM biomarkers will provide a quick and efficient tool to monitor the quality and safety of IPSCs.

GIS Executive Director Prof Huck Hui Ng said, “Epigenomics is an exciting frontier for biological research and it offers a new perspective to analyse the human genome. We are very pleased to partner with Oxford BioDynamics to employ their EpiSwitch technology for applications in stem cell differentiation.”

Oxford Biodynamics CEO, Christian Hoyer Millar said, “We are delighted to be collaborating with GIS. GIS is one of the leading influences worldwide in the development of stem cell technology. Singapore’s focus on adoption of new technologies, like EpiSwitchTM, has been instrumental in translation of latest epigenetic scientific advances into practical industrial applications in health-care and drug development.”


Christian Hoyer Millar

Oxford Biodynamics Limited

26,Beaumont Street,

Oxford OX12NP



Winnie Serah Lim (Ms)

Genome Institute of Singapore

Office of Corporate Communications

Tel: (65) 6808 8013


About Oxford BioDynamics

Oxford BioDynamics (OBD) is an Oxford University spin-out that has developed and validated a proprietary biomarker discovery platform, EpiSwitch™, based on the latest advances in the mechanisms of gene expression, non-coding RNA, chromosome conformation signatures and epigenetics.

The Company offers product development for highly effective, non-invasive applications in stratification of physiological and pathological conditions; screening and early detection; monitoring of treatment and prognosis of diseases and chronic conditions. Company latest products utilize aberrant gene expression and epigenetic deregulation in oncology, inflammatory, metabolic, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative conditions. In March 2013 Janssen Oncology USA (Johnson and Johnson) has announced a programme for the EpiSwitchTM biomarker development for circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in patients with prostate cancer. The Company will be presenting its latest results for nasopharyngeal carcinoma at the Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago, IL.

The Oxford BioDynamics holding company is registered in England and Wales, with wholly owned subsidiaries in Singapore and Australia.

About the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS)

The Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) is an institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). It has a global vision that seeks to use genomic sciences to improve public health and public prosperity. Established in 2001 as a centre for genomic discovery, the GIS will pursue the integration of technology, genetics and biology towards the goal of individualized medicine.

The key research areas at the GIS include Systems Biology, Stem Cell & Developmental Biology, Cancer Biology & Pharmacology, Human Genetics, Infectious Diseases, Genomic Technologies, and Computational & Mathematical Biology. The genomics infrastructure at the GIS is utilized to train new scientific talent, to function as a bridge for academic and industrial research, and to explore scientific questions of high impact.

About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector agency that fosters world-class scientific research and talent to drive economic growth and transform Singapore into a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation driven economy.

In line with its mission-oriented mandate, A*STAR spearheads research and development in fields that are essential to growing Singapore’s manufacturing sector and catalysing new growth industries. A*STAR supports these economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry.

A*STAR oversees 20 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research entities, located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis as well as their vicinity. These two R&D hubs house a bustling and diverse community of local and international research scientists and engineers from A*STAR’s research entities as well as a growing number of corporate laboratories.

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