Omixon at ASHI 2019 – HLA Typing Applications Beyond Transplantation

Thank you everyone for another exciting and eventful ASHI Meeting! The (big!) Omixon Team – Efi, Renata, Nora, Kriszta, Pete, Dan, Nandi, Joe, Richie, Gustavo, Libor and Attila – went on a trip to Pittsburgh to explore the city’s best meatballs, wonderful bridges and skyline.

The conference was held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center – the Omixon booth was constantly busy with discussions, we had a very successful software demo with PIRCHE and we shared information about existing and new products. The booth itself was designed to highlight our main message for this year: Omixon’s new multiplex product, OmniType is on the way!

Holotype HLA and other Omixon products were featured among 10 posters and an oral presentation at the annual meeting.
The customer posters highlight Holotype HLA as a robust technology for clinical use within the HLA community (P007, P043, P095, P103, P108) and as an excellent tool for scientific advancement with new discoveries in HLA diversity, particularly in under-represented populations of the Middle East and Africa (P059, P072, P104). Of particular note is the oral presentation by Omixon’s collaborators at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (OR41) where a novel null HLA-B*40 allele was identified, but with only ~75% of NGS reads supporting this allele. Noting higher than usual noise, further investigation revealed that the novelty was caused by a somatic loss of heterozygosity mutation associated with the Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) of the patient, and not the germline genotype. This result was confirmed by additional testing of non-blood samples. As this result influences the search for the appropriate donor, Duke and colleagues demonstrate why it is critical to confirm the presence of novelties in the germline (particularly those creating null alleles) from a non-blood based source.

Richard and colleagues at the bone marrow registry at Hema Quebec presented initial data on their use of Omixon’s Monotype ABO kit, which allows molecular characterization down to the allele subtypes for the ABO gene. Their data demonstrated concordance with known samples, but additionally identified previously undescribed mutations in A and O leading to novel alleles. Additionally, one rare genotype was identified in a cord blood sample with an undetermined ABO serology status. “Adding ABO molecular typing to routine HLA typing for registries is hugely beneficial for donor selection” says Efi Melista, Head of Product at Omixon, “When two or more donors are equivalently matched for HLA, the ABO genotype is frequently used to select the donor for transplant, thus increasing the donor selection rates for registries that perform ABO typing”. In addition to use by registries, molecular characterization of ABO for samples routinely typed by serology provides a valuable tool for handling challenging samples, where the serological result reveals an unclear or weak antigen, from multi-transfused patients, to confirm rare ABO phenotypes and importantly to confirm ABO null alleles where traditional serology cannot be used.

On the opening day of the conference, we hosted our Interactive User Group Meeting, where 4 guest speakers presented their slides and shared their experience with our Holotype HLA product. This event focused on education, training and technology for existing and new customers by existing customers. With the help of our Technical Support Engineer, Nandor Varga and our FAS team, Renata Santos and Libor Kolesar, the 4-hour event was a successful and interactive session where guests could participate in a live HLA Twin software tutorial. To all our guests, thank you for sharing your feedback and being interactive throughout the event, this means a lot to us!

Tuesday was about booth time and party time – our annual party was held at Il Tetto rooftop bar with amazing meatballs, drinks, and of course with games and a Magic Mirror where everyone could free their inner exhibitionist. About 150 guests filled up the space and we all had a lot of fun. Thanks all for coming, next year’s party will be even bigger!

Our Lunchtime Symposium on Thursday was a huge success – more than 180 people attended the symposium and we even had to order extra lunchboxes. Our latest parody video, the BACHELOR is so long that we decided to share a teaser only – however, you can watch the full version on our YouTube channel.

The symposium featured presentations from KOLs on leading scientific advancements. Rasmi Thomas of the Walter Reed will highlight her new research on the effect of HLA types on HIV vaccines, while Eszter Lazar-Molnar from ARUP and the University of Utah will discuss the use and advantages of NGS for HLA-associated diseases. Ariella Sasson from Bristol Myers Squibb will describe how HLA data can be extrapolated from WGS and WES data in a high throughput, large scale fashion for use in pharmacogenetics research and the development of companion diagnostics. Omixon will also use the Lunch Symposium to announce the timeline for the Early Access Program of OmniType, the multiplex successor to Holotype HLA and other product improvements. “OmniType has been an eagerly awaited advancement to Omixon’s product portfolio” says Dan Mancuso, Market Development Director at Omixon. “While multiplex is the primary feature of OmniType HLA, the amplification time will now be the fastest on the market, and the library prep will be streamlined for the shortest NGS-based HLA typing workflow today”.

This was one of the most successful ASHI Conferences for us – thank you to all the organizers for their hard work and thank you everyone for having fun with us.

See you next year in Anaheim, CA!