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DNA Sequencing Giant Illumina Joins Hunt for Autism Blood Test

Illumina will work with SynapDx’s to find a blood-test that could allow treatment to start earlier.

Massachusetts startup SynapDx announced on Wednesday that it will work with DNA sequencer manufacturer Illumina  to develop early detection tools for autism spectrum disorders,  according to a release.

SynapDx is trying to develop a blood-based test that will catch most cases of autism spectrum disorders in children earlier than current methods (see “Can a Blood Test Detect Autism Early?”). The advantage would be that treatments seem to work better the sooner they start. The challenge is that there aren’t clear biomarkers or genetic signals for the disorder, which is most likely a mix of many different conditions.

But that doesn’t seem to deter sequencing giant Illumina, which has been growing the diagnostic side of its business over the last few months (see “A Brave New World of Prenatal DNA Sequencing”). According to the release:

“SynapDx and Illumina share a vision of better pediatric care through the use of advanced molecular assays and sequencing technologies,” said Stanley Lapidus, SynapDx’s CEO. “We look forward to broadly collaborating on multiple joint initiatives.”

SynapDx is currently recruiting participants into a clinical study of gene expression and autism in children less than 5 years old, which might help them identify biomarkers of the condition.

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