Roche Diagnostics of Basil, Switzerland, and the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research have signed a pact to create a new line of tests using PCR technology. The deal between Roche and Mayo--the first of its kind for the research institute--exemplifies the surge of new interest in DNA-amplification technology, which has been around for more than a decade. "It is an area where there is an increasing commercial opportunity, as more of the genotypes of different microbes are identified," says Steven Harr, an analyst with Robertson Stephens. PCR technology failed to sweep traditional culturing from the bench, he said, because quality control and test validation remained to be developed. Roche's alliance with Mayo targets quality control and involves development of assays that work with LightCycler instruments. "We are developing many of the tests, looking for the target or the DNA sequence in the bug that would specifically identify...

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