Germany's MWG Biotech has launched its own line of small interfering RNA (siRNA) reagents, siMAX, encroaching into territory dominated by the likes of Qiagen, Dharmacon, Ambion, Proligo and Invitrogen.
RNAi allows the inactivation of target genes by using complementary double stranded RNA which binds to messenger RNA and prevents protein transcription. It offers high specificity with a level of potency and stability which is far superior to that achievable with other technologies, such as antisense or ribozymes.
As a result, RNAi has become the method of choice for a wide range of biomedical applications, in particular emerging as the best functional genomics screening method to identify and validate new drug targets.
MWG's decision to enter the market is an extension of the company's existing product franchises in oligonucleotides and microarrays, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), sequencing and bioinformatics, all of which are used in functional genomics applications, according to Dr Wolfgang Pieken, the company's chief scientific officer.
"A perfect example for this is the combination of our MWG Inflammation Array, on which all known genes associated with the inflammatory process in humans are represented, with the matching set of siRNAs for complex functional genomics and proteomics analysis," he said.
MWG has already built up a level of expertise in the manufacture of synthetic nucleic acids, so extending this to include siRNA was relatively simple, according to the company. It says it has refined its processes so that it can now make siRNA reagents with a coupling rate to their complementary nucleic acid sequences of 99 per cent, higher than the 70-80 per cent rate achieved with other products.
The company said it offers a portfolio of pre-designed siMAX libraries as well as a design service based on the MWG bioinformatics toolkit for customers who want to design their own siRNA.