SIRS-Lab develops Molecular Beacons for biochips / German Biotech Company and US Public Health Research Institute sign a co-operation and license agreement

Jena, Germany (ots) - The SIRS-Lab GmbH is focused on the development of biochips as new diagnostic tools for acute inflammatory disorders i.e. sepsis. For that purpose SIRS-Lab decided to acquire prominent assistance. The US-based Public Health Research Institute (PHRI), Newark, New Jersey, authorizes SIRS-Lab to sell the Molecular Beacon technology for the European R&D market in the field of sepsis. The contract is valid for 5 years. With this agreement SIRS-Lab joins a group of considerable companies world-wide, which develop and use the Molecular Beacon technology.

Molecular Beacons are small molecules of single-stranded DNA. They possess a hairpin-shaped structure. At one of their ends they have bound a fluorophore, at the other a fluorescence quencher. Due to their conformation, the fluorophore and the quencher are in close proximity. That causes complete fluorescence quenching. Hybridization to target DNA opens the hairpin of the probe molecules and separates fluorophore and quencher. As a result the fluorescence is turned "on".

"The license agreement with the PHRI opens up new possibilities for the development of our biochips", said SIRS-Lab's Chief Executive Officer Dr. Stefan Rußwurm. The use of Molecular Beacons on biochips would provide several advantages compared to current methods. So far, sample molecules have to be fluorescence labelled before analysis. "This step would no longer be necessary and the handling of biochip experiments would be much easier for our customers", said Rußwurm. In addition, the Molecular Beacon technology requires only smallest quantities of sample fluids.

During the next year, SIRS-Lab expects to put their first biochips on the market, which are equipped with the new technology. Nevertheless, a lot of developmental work is still required. But SIRS-Lab is well prepared to do it. A research project funded by the European Union exclusively focus on the establishment of the Molecular Beacons technology.