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RNA Profiling and Biomarker Discovery

Our expertise in the analysis of RNA, combined with experience from in-house microRNA biomarker projects, means that Exiqon Custom Pharma Services are the ideal service partner for your RNA profiling and biomarker discovery programs. Our service is fully comprehensive, including everything from RNA isolation to industry-leading data analysis tailored to your project.

Exiqon, now a QIAGEN company


Exiqon and QIAGEN have joined forces to bring you an enriched product and service offering that builds on the expertise and product synergies of the two companies.

Effective 1 October 2017, Exiqon products and services are fully integrated with QIAGEN, and available for purchase only through QIAGEN.

Meet the new face of Exiqon Services.
  • Comprehensive RNA profiling services by the RNA experts
  • Genome wide profiling of coding and non-coding RNAs
  • Analysis of specific RNAs of interest
  • Experienced in handling samples from clinical trials
  • Next Generation Sequencing and qPCR platforms
  • Market-leading LNA™ platforms for RNA analysis also available via your preferred CRO
  • Identification and validation of RNA biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment response, safety etc.

Experts in coding and non-coding RNA biomarkers

By choosing Exiqon Custom Pharma Services, you can benefit from all the experience gained from Exiqon's in-house biomarker discovery programs involving both FFPE tissue samples, as well as "liquid biopsy" biofluid samples.

We offer RNA profiling services for all types of RNA:
  • microRNA (microRNA-seq and qPCR)
  • messenger RNA (RNA-seq)
  • whole transcriptome including lncRNA (RNA-seq)
Exiqon are experienced in collaborating with pharmaceutical companies in their effort to develop new medicines based on non-coding and coding RNA as biological markers.

Exiqon's RNA profiling services enable you to analyse both coding and non-coding RNAs in one place.

Unrivalled expertise in liquid biopsies

Exiqon are the ideal partner for the analysis of circulating microRNA biomarkers. We have handled thousands of liquid biopsy samples, generating over a million datapoints from both normal and individuals with a range of different diseases (not only cancer).

Our liquid biopsy expertise includes:
  • protocols optimized for liquid biopsies, from isolation to data analysis
  • a detailed knowledge of biofluid pre-analytical variables
  • biofluid reference ranges
  • specialized biofluid QC procedures
Exiqon's proprietary QC and data analysis pipelines for liquid biopsy samples are the product of extensive research through our in-house biomarker discovery programs. To our knowledge no other service provider worldwide can offer this level of specialized expertise.

Exiqon are exploring urine microRNAs as biomarkers of renal injury, together with the ILSI Health and Environmental Sciences Institute’s Biomarkers of Nephrotoxicity Committee - a consortium including ten major pharmaceutical companies and the FDA.

Comprehensive RNA Analysis Services

Our expertise in the analysis of RNA, combined with experience from in-house biomarker discovery programs, means that Exiqon are ideally placed to offer the best recommendations for your RNA biomarker discovery programs. Every project begins with an in-depth consultation where we discuss the experimental design strategy, number of individuals, sample collection and profiling technologies.

We offer a complete sample-to-answer service, including everything from RNA isolation to extensive customized data analysis.

RNA Biomarker discovery and validation Services

Exiqon Custom Pharma Services have experience in transitioning biomarker discovery across different platforms (e.g. Next Generation Sequencing and qPCR, see Figure 1). Our bioinformaticians have developed effective strategies to identify and test RNA signatures for a range of biomarker applications including diagnosis, prognosis, treatment response and safety.

Biomarker discovery workflow

Biomarker discovery projects usually begin with a genome wide screening phase on a limited number of samples, performed either by a hypothesis-free Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) approach, or by PCR profiling. From this genome wide screening dataset, a smaller number of relevant RNAs are identified, and the discovery phase can continue by analyzing this subset of RNAs on a larger number of individuals, using Focus or custom Pick-&-Mix PCR panels (available from Exiqon as Products or Services). Once a biomarker signature has been identified (including relevant endogenous control RNAs), it is then validated on a large number of individuals using custom Pick-&-Mix PCR panels. Crucially, assays to detect any novel RNAs identified by NGS may also be included in the custom PCR panels.
Figure 1 Overview of the NGS small RNA services workflow
Overview of the NGS small RNA services workflow. (Click to learn more)



RNA biomarkers in clinical trials

RNA biomarkers are becoming increasingly important in clinical trials as the era of personalized medicine takes hold. There are more than 200 clinical trials incorporating microRNAs, rapidly approaching the number of trials including messenger RNA analysis. MicroRNAs are used as biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, prediction of therapeutic response, or safety. Most of the clinical trials are analysing circulating microRNAs in blood serum/plasma as non-invasive biomarkers – so called "liquid biopsies" (see Table 1).

Comprehensive RNA Analysis Services

Exiqon Custom Pharma Services are experienced in handling a wide range of clinical samples:
  • serum/plasma and other biofluids
  • blood
  • exosomes
  • fresh frozen and FFPE tissue
  • LCM samples
We can advise you on the best strategy to include microRNA and RNA analysis in your samples from clinical trials. As well as profiling, we also offer analysis of specific RNAs of interest.
Every project begins with an in-depth consultation with Exiqon scientists, so you can benefit from Exiqon’s expert knowledge of microRNA and RNA applications. Our service is fully comprehensive, including everything from RNA isolation to extensive customized data analysis.

By choosing Exiqon, you benefit from:
  • access to the full range of Exiqon’s Next Generation Sequencing and LNA™ microRNA qPCR platforms
  • projects conducted in Exiqon's state-of-the-art laboratories
  • Exiqon's Quality Assurance (QA) Program that incorporates important components of ISO 17025 and GLP

LNA™ qPCR platforms for microRNA analysis available via your CRO

Alternatively you may wish to process your samples through your CRO. You can be reassured that two major CROs have already chosen to use Exiqon's LNA™ qPCR platforms for microRNA analysis.

We can advise you on the optimal approach for microRNA and RNA analysis in your clinical trial samples, and liaise with your CRO to ensure the analysis is performed in the most favourable way according to the sample type. Exiqon can also assist with the implementation of Exiqon's best-in-class microRNA detection technologies within new CROs.

Please contact us to enquire about CROs using Exiqon's LNA™ qPCR platform for microRNA analysis.

Table 1.
Disease Approach Sample Applications of microRNAs NCT number
Neuroblastoma Profiling   Prognosis NCT01169376
Hepatocellular Carcinoma Specific microRNAs   Treatment response NCT01210495
Melanoma Profiling Blood serum Prognosis NCT01988831
Lung Cancer Profiling Blood plasma Diagnosis & Prognosis NCT02247453
Pulmonary Hypertension Profiling Blood   NCT02267200
Myocardial Ischemia miR-144, miR-125b, miR-208a     NCT02407626
Type II Diabetes Profiling Urine   NCT02316522
Metabolic Syndrome X miR-29 Cord blood   NCT02479113
Muscular Dystrophy Specific microRNAs Blood serum Diagnosis NCT02109692
Multiple Sclerosis   Blood Serum, Plasma, Urine, CSF, Saliva   NCT01371071
Alzheimer's disease miR-107 Blood plasma, CSF   NCT01819545


A selection of the more than 200 on-going clinical trials involving microRNA. Information was extracted from www.ClinicalTrials.gov.
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