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ABI Pledges to Invest in Sales: Will It Help Arrays?

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The latest round of layoffs at Applied Biosystems could ultimately end up helping the company’s microarray division, according to company officials, who say that the restructuring includes plans to expand the sales and support team for its 1700 Chemiluminescence Microarray Analyzer during the next year.

In June, ABI announced plans to reduce its workforce by 250 employees, or nearly 6 percent, before the end of the year, slicing positions from R&D, marketing, and operations, as well as incurring a fourth-quarter charge of between $20 million and $22 million for severance packages and shutting down some of its existing facilities.

However, while June 22 was a black day for R&D employees, Sophie Patel, an ABI spokesperson, says that the company plans to increase its sales presence in the North American market during its 2006 fiscal year. Patel declined to comment on specific product lines, adding that the number of sales people would be increased company-wide, including the microarray division.

“The analysis essentially concluded that we had been under-resourced in our North American sales and field-support organization,” says Patel. “Hence there is a decision to hire more personnel within sales coming up in our next fiscal year.”

According to Jack Zhai, ABI’s microarray product manager, the company has a “strong sales force for the 1700 system worldwide.” He says that ABI currently has a North American sales force of 10 people for microarray sales and support for the 1700 system.

The company’s current team is comparable to the sales force at rival CombiMatrix, which revealed earlier this year plans to increase its sales force from about 12 individuals to 20 by the end of the year to handle the North American and European markets.

— Justin Petrone

 

 

Affymetrix reported a 5 percent increase in year-over-year revenues, and an 11 percent increase in net income for the second quarter of 2005. The company still plans to close its acquisition of ParAllele in the third quarter of this year.

 

Alpha Innotech will co-market a laser-based microarray scanner made by Beijing-based CapitalBio. Alpha Innotech will have exclusive marketing rights for the AlphaScan scanner in all markets except China, Japan, Korea, and Australia.

 

In a non-exclusive license agreement, Japanese distributor JK International will market, sell, and service CombiMatrix microarrays in Japan.

 

Oxford Gene Technology teamed up with Schott Nexterion to serve as a reference site for its glass substrates for oligonucleotide microarraying. CombiMatrix signed a similar deal with Inter Medical of Japan in May, and signed up In Bio as a distributor for the Australia and New Zealand markets in January.

 

Eisai London Research Laboratories licensed OriGene’s FlagArray full-length cDNA plasmids. Eisai will use the expression-ready arrays of full-length cDNA plasmids for high-throughput drug-target discovery.

 

Munich-based Implen, which sells a wide range of microarray-related reagents for labeling, hybridization, and post-hybridization treatment, has opened an office in Switzerland near Zurich.

PATENT WATCH

US Patent 6,924,107. Four-dimensional biochip design for high-throughput applications and methods of using the four-dimensional biochip. Inventor: Ben Hui Liu. Assignee: Bio-Informatics Group. Issued: August 2, 2005.

This invention “provides a 4D biochip containing m 3D biochips having n capillaries, wherein the n capillaries each contain a biological factor, and methods for preparing and using the 4D biochip to provide rapid, efficient assays of large quantities of samples and/or factors.”

 

US Patent 6,913,879. Microarray method of genotyping multiple samples at multiple loci. Inventor: Mark Schena. Assignee: TeleChem International. Issued: July 5, 2005.

The patent covers a means of “genotyping multiple samples at multiple genetic loci in a single assay. … Microarrays of genomic segments representing discrete loci are formed and hybridized with mixtures of synthetic oligonucleotides that are complementary to the genomic segments. Genotyping information is derived by reading the microarray signals.”

Datapoint

6 billion

Approximate number of genotypes to be generated by Broad Institute researchers and their collaborators using Affymetrix’s GeneChip Mapping 500K arrays. Researchers will analyze more than 12,000 human DNA samples in whole-genome association studies to identify the genetic causes of cancer, cardiovascular, metabolic, and neuropsychiatric diseases.

 

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