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Claritas Genomics To Sequence Exomes For VA Million Veteran Program With Ion Torrent Next-Generation Sequencers

BOSTON, Oct. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --  Claritas Genomics, together with partners Life Technologies (NASDAQ: LIFE) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), announced today that the Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded Claritas a $9 million contract for exome sequencing of Veteran samples, including those from the Million Veteran Program (MVP) over the next 12 months. The project is one of the largest sequencing initiatives ever undertaken in the U.S.           

Claritas Genomics is supported by Life Technologies and its Ion Proton™ sequencing technology, Alvarez and Associates, which is providing technical support and Lockheed Martin, which is applying its expertise in data security to manage the large amounts of data that will be generated.

Cambridge-based Claritas Genomics is a clinical diagnostics laboratory that provides genetic testing for hospitals and researchers with a focus on pediatric medicine. The company was spun out of Boston Children's Hospital in February and incorporates the expertise, assets, personnel and more than 100 genetic tests, including many specialized diagnostics developed at the hospital. In the nine months since its spin-off it has quickly established itself as a leading resource for large-scale sequencing projects like MVP.

"Claritas Genomics is privileged to be part of this historic project and honored to have a role in helping our Veterans and their families," said Dr. Patrice Milos, Chief Executive Officer of Claritas Genomics. "We know firsthand from our work in pediatrics the power of large datasets to uncover the genetic mechanisms of disease. What's unique about MVP is that we'll produce a massive dataset at a fraction of the time and cost it would have required even a year ago, and that's a direct result of the speed, simplicity and affordability of Ion Torrent's sequencing technology."

"Claritas is a terrific example of how Ion Torrent's semi-conductor based technology is changing what's possible in sequencing," said Life Technologies' Head of Genetic and Medical Sciences, Ronnie Andrews, who worked with Claritas Genomics and Life's Enterprise Solutions Group to build a population-scale genetic analysis solution. "The speed at which Claritas has been able to bring up a high quality sequencing center is indicative of their operational excellence and the flexibility of the Life sequencing solutions. Less than a year after opening and they've been selected to champion one of the largest exome sequencing projects in the U.S. That's the kind of operational leverage the Life sequencing solutions with the Ion Proton™ Sequencer, Ion AmpliSeq™ Exome Kit and Ion Reporter™ Software bring to sequencing."

"Lockheed Martin is excited to be part of one of the largest genomics projects in the nation," said Glenn Kurowski, Vice President of health and life sciences for Lockheed Martin's Information Systems & Global Solutions business. "Information security, data management, and analytics at-scale are vital to this project; we are thrilled to be enabling engineering and IT in those areas for our team and the VA. We look forward to helping the VA with their goals of finding better ways, through genomics, to prevent, detect and treat disease for our nation's Veterans."

"We are pleased to be part of this very important project," said Everett Alvarez, Jr., Chief Executive Officer at Alvarez & Associates. "As a U.S. Military Veteran, I am proud of the fact that my company is able to serve those individuals who were/are willing to sacrifice all in service to our country. I feel that this effort will greatly improve our ability to understand and better assist those Veterans in need as well as the future generations of Veterans."

The Ion AmpliSeq™ Exome Kit and Ion Proton™ Sequencer are For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

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