Clinical Microbiomics adds long-read DNA and RNA sequencing with DNASense acquisition

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

© janiecbros / Getty Images
© janiecbros / Getty Images

Related tags Gut microbiome Dna

Danish contract research organisation Clinical Microbiomics has acquired DNASense, which specializes in long-read DNA and RNA sequencing technologies and cutting-edge bioinformatics.

The acquisition adds long-read DNA- and RNA sequencing technologies to the contract research organization's portfolio of multi-omics technologies for the human microbiome field and extends the offering to new segments including agriculture, industrial and environmental ecosystems.

“DNASense is a first mover in applying long-read technology broadly across microbiome research and industrial applications," said Henrik Bjørn Nielsen, chief scientific officer (CSO) of Clinical Microbiomics. "Adding this to our toolbox paves the way for synergies with our bioinformatics and allows for deeper exploration of the microbiome's complexities that will accelerate new discoveries.”

DNA is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. Short-read sequencing is currently the most commonly used form of next-generation sequencing (NGS), but innovative long-read technologies offer several advantages.

Sequencing of longer DNA fragments significantly improves the assembly of complex metagenomes and the identification of functional and structural features. This facilitates metagenome-associated genomes (MAG) recovery, resolution of repetitive regions and detection of methylation patterns, and improves the accuracy of meta-transcriptomics by combining RNA sequencing with a MAG-resolved reference.

What's more, the long-read platform is highly scalable and provides live sequencing data feeds for fast analysis turn-around and customizations.

"Joining Clinical Microbiomics is a pivotal moment for DNASense," said Mads Søndergaard, CEO of DNASense. "Combining our services, we significantly expand the bioinformatics available to us for high-resolution taxonomical and functional insights in bioindustrial, environmental, agriculture and animal microbiomes."

By expanding its market presence and suite of services, the team aims to facilitate a deeper understanding of the microbiome's holistic role across a wide range of complex challenges in both humans, non-humans and the environment.

"Moreover, the ISO-certified laboratories and robust quality management system (QMS) by Clinical Microbiomics are critical to meet the requirements of an ever-expanding customer base," Søndergaard added. "This acquisition provides excellent synergies for DNASense to continue improving the services offered." 

The acquisition is the third of its kind in the last 18-months for the Danish-American microbiome service company. The integration of MS-Omics​ added leading metabolomics capabilities in October 2022, and the merger with CosmosID​ created a global multi-omics footprint for microbiome studies including software solutions.

A new brand uniting the joint vision of Clinical Microbiomics, MS-Omics, CosmosID and DNASense will be unveiled in the summer of 2024 to reflect the integration and expansion of their capabilities.

Delivering 'unmatched accuracy'

Clinical Microbiomics announced its next generation microbiome profiler 'CHAMP'​ in 2023, which presents a 16% increase in sensitivity across various human body sites compared to MetaPhlAn4 and a 400-fold lower false detection signal.

The scientists created this superior accuracy through the collection of more than 400,000 Metagenome Assembled Genomes (MAGs) from nine body sites and its ultra sensitive algorithm.

The team, which was behind the metagenomic species (MGS) concept, a state-of-the-art tool when it launched in 2014, felt this new generation tool was required to remove the potential for inaccurate discoveries.

"There are so many bacteria out there that had never been isolated we were left with more than 40% dark matter, meaning you are left trying to understand what microbes there are and what they do to health and disease with a very limited library of bacteria," Anders Grøn, CEO of Clinical Microbiomics, told NutraIngredients.

“A lot of products delivered to market are based on that limited understanding of the microbes that are there. Bjorn’s approach allowed us to map close to 100% of the microbes that are there. Not only can we map more bacteria, but we can be more accurate as we have an algorithm that offers the highest specificity, sensitivity and most accurate profiling."

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