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News Release
October 16, 2013
Contact: Leslie Eisenberg, Feinstein Kean Healthcare
Phone: +1 617-244-3872

EMD Millipore to be Global Distributor for SmartRNAplex™ MicroRNA Profiling Assay
  • Enables high throughput, multiplexed microRNA analysis for up to 68 targets and 96 samples in one assay
  • Works with a wide range of sample types including serum, plasma, crude cell digests and formalin-fixed tissues
  • Based on Firefly™ technology from Firefly BioWorks

October 16, 2013, Billerica, MA — EMD Millipore, the Life Science division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, today announced they have entered into an agreement with Firefly BioWorks to be a global distributor of the SmartRNAplex™ microRNA (miRNA) profiling assay. The assay will be highlighted at the EMD Millipore booth (#1048) at the upcoming American Society of Human Genetics conference in Boston, MA, October 23-25.

SmartRNAplex™ Assays use proprietary Firefly™ technology which exploits uniquely encoded hydrogel particles developed by innovators at Firefly BioWorks. These particles, which contain miRNA-specific probes, can be mixed with any sample to detect miRNAs of interest.The SmartRNAplex™ miRNA detection assay is based on Firefly’s Firefly™ proprietary hydrogel technology.

“As microRNA-based research evolves from discovery to validation, robust, multiplex methods that can be performed easily at the bench are necessary to continue advancements in the field,” notes Grace Johnston, Ph.D., Marketing Manager, EMD Millipore. “The SmartRNAplex™ assay is an important new tool for our customers who are elucidating the role of microRNAs in a broad range of human diseases and need to explore multiple targets across many samples. The innovation lies in the unique properties of the Firefly™ particles which maximizes signal and widens the assay’s dynamic range, while decreasing background noise.”

MicroRNA detection with SmartRNAplex™ requires just three steps: hybridize, label, and report. The hybridize step binds the microRNA targets to the target-specific probes attached to Firefly™ hydrogel particles. The label step ligates a universal biotinylated adapter to the captured targets. A fluorescent reporter binds to the universal adapter during the report step. This reporter molecule is ultimately used for microRNA detection in a flow cytometer.

Multiplexing is accomplished by using encoded hydrogel Firefly™ particles. Each particle bears a unique “barcode” that identifies the miRNA species for which that particle bears a complementary binding sequence. The Firefly™ hydrogel particles, unlike other particles traditionally used for multiplexed assays, are hydrophilic, bio-inert, flexible and porous, allowing target molecules to diffuse and bind in a unique nanoscale three-dimensional scaffold. As a result, more target miRNAs bind per particle, giving you: maximum signal, larger dynamic range, and decreased background.

“We are very excited to enter this partnership with the leader in bench top flow cytometry,” said Davide Marini, CEO and co-founder of Firefly BioWorks. “EMD Millipore’s world class distribution network, customer support and technical expertise naturally complement our technology platform, which we designed for flow-based systems. This natural synergy, when combined with a large installed base of instruments, will accelerate the discovery of biomarkers for early detection of disease.”

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About EMD Millipore
EMD Millipore is the Life Science division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, offers a broad range of innovative, performance products, services and business relationships that enable our customers' success in research, development and production of biotech and pharmaceutical drug therapies. Through dedicated collaboration on new scientific and engineering insights, and as one of the top three R&D investors in the Life Science Tools industry, EMD Millipore serves as a strategic partner to customers and helps advance the promise of life science.

Headquartered in Billerica, Massachusetts, the division has around 10,000 employees, operations in 66 countries and 2012 revenues of €2.6 billion.

About Firefly BioWorks
Firefly BioWorks (Cambridge, MA) designs and manufactures biological assays and analysis methods for the simultaneous measurement of multiple biomolecules across many samples for basic and clinical research. The Firefly™ Technology integrates customizable multiplexed assays with bioinformatics tools to accelerate scientific research and translation into clinical applications