Automating diagnostics for the future
Success of QIAsymphony
QIAsymphony is QIAGEN’s flagship platform. Sales of the systems have grown substantially year-over-year since the QIAsymphony introduction in 2008 and surpassed 1,000 cumulative placements in 2013. Around 50% of all QIAsymphony platforms are currently being used in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, 30% in the Americas, and 20% in other markets. Following this success, QIAGEN has set new targets aiming to achieve 1,250 cumulative QIAsymphony placements by the end of 2014 and 1,500 by the end of 2015.
“Key to the success of the platform is that the system not only offers a high level of quality and accuracy, but is also straightforward to operate,” said Line Martinsen, Business Manager for QIAsymphony. “Important features include continuous loading ability and the fact that different reactions can be performed within a batch of samples by means of the so-called ‘random access method’ without having to recharge with reagents. What makes our system so special for customers, however, is its high level of operational efficiency: QIAsymphony works both with PCR-based test kits from QIAGEN, as well as laboratory-developed tests (LDTs), enabling customers to consolidate their assay menu into one workflow. This is a key differentiator, since in many laboratories as much as 50% of all tests are devised by the laboratories themselves.”
Expanding range of tests
QIAGEN constantly expands its assay portfolio, and this growing menu increases the efficiency and value of the QIAsymphony platform for customers. New tests launched in 2013 include the artus CT/NG QS-RGQ Kit for diagnosis of the sexually transmitted pathogens Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhea (NG), which was launched in Europe, and the RespiFinder RG Panel, the first highly multiplexed pathogen assay designed to run on the Rotor-Gene Q, allowing for the simultaneous detection and differentiation of 21 respiratory pathogens with a CE-IVD compliant workflow. Respiratory tract infections (RTI) are the most widespread type of acute infection in adults and children and are a significant cause of mortality in immunocompromised patients. The fast results provided by the test will improve therapy and may help to improve patient outcomes by preventing unnecessary treatment or hospital admission. In addition, QIAGEN is rolling out a growing portfolio for diagnosis of hospital-associated infectious diseases.“The process of developing new tests starts with customer interest,” Ms. Martinsen explained. “We delve deeply into the wider potential of specific tests and initiate the development of promising new candidates.” As a result, QIAGEN currently has more than 35 new tests in its development pipeline for the QIAsymphony platform, which will further increase the value of this platform for existing and potential customers and drive its utilization.
QIAGEN not only strives to expand the content of its assay portfolio, but also its geographic footprint, making both the platform and the corresponding tests available in more countries worldwide. A recent milestone in these efforts was the submission of the entire QIAsymphony RGQ MDx platform for regulatory clearance in the U.S., following earlier clearance of the Rotor-Gene Q MDx detection module along with a diagnostic test for influenza.
Exploring new horizons
Seamless, flexible and reliable workflows such as those provided on the QIAsymphony system are important to all customers in the diagnostics space. QIAGEN also is working to apply the successful QIAsymphony formula to other fields where new challenges exist. A particularly important field is next-generation sequencing (NGS), where current bottlenecks in the workflow are hampering the dissemination of this new technology in healthcare.
QIAGEN is creating an industry-leading portfolio of products and services to drive the adoption of NGS in clinical research and diagnostics and create a new workflow, which integrates all the different steps from raw biological samples to valuable molecular insights. Responding to customer needs for more reliable, efficient NGS workflows, the company is commercializing an increasingly broad range of universal solutions compatible with any major NGS platform on the market, including pre-analytic kits such as the REPLI-g Single Cell Kit for sequencing from single cells and minute amounts of DNA with highly accurate results, and an expanding portfolio of GeneRead™ DNAseq gene panels for use in cancer and other diseases.
Back at Herlev Hospital in Denmark, the impressive views from the window of the Clinical Microbiology Department on the fifth floor mirror the new horizons in molecular testing that QIAGEN systems have already brought the department, providing insights that benefit staff, specialists and patients.