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Affy's GeneTitan Better for Larger Facilities

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Affymetrix may have launched its next-generation micro-array platform, the GeneTitan System, with core laboratories big and small in mind, but shortly after the system hit the market, larger labs appeared to embrace the new system while smaller cores stated that they are satisfied with their current setups.

The GeneTitan is a fully automated instrument that offers array processing from hybridization to data analysis. The first application to run on the instrument is whole-genome expression profiling made available in the firm's 24- and 96-peg array plate format using Affy's new HT 3' IVT Express Assay, which the company says offers a streamlined protocol and the ability to work with less sample material.

According to Affy, the new system, as well its new, lower-cost "peg" microarray format, will eventually replace the traditional cartridge-based format that Affy has popularized since its inception in the 1990s. Affy's first peg-formatted products are plates for expression profiling in human, mouse, and rat. Affy says it plans to add SNP-genotyping products in the peg array format to its menu next year.

Doug Farrell, Affy's head of investor relations, told investors at a conference in September that the lower cost of the peg array strips will "be the currency going forward" for Affy, "not just for high-volume projects, but towards lower-throughput users" such as academic labs.

CEO Kevin King in September told investors at UBS's Global Healthcare Service Conference that the new peg array platform would enable Affy to offer customers "cost-effective and multi-sample formats." According to King, Affy can now put up to 100 samples on a standard industry plate, and "customers can insert those into the GeneTitan system, walk away, and come back when the scanning is completed."

Justin Petrone

Microarray Notes

Eden Prairie, Minn.-based SurModics acquired GE Healthcare's CodeLink Activated Slide business, which GE had retained when it sold the CodeLink bioarray products and assets to Applied Microarrays last year.

Oxford Gene Technology has expanded its offerings for bacterial research with the launch of its Universal Prokaryotic high-density oligonucleotide arrays for use in ChIP-chip, gene expression, and comparative genomic hybridization experiments.

The Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research in Capetown, South Africa, has begun offering genomic research services using Affymetrix's GeneChip microarray platform for molecular diagnostics research, large-scale genotyping, and drug research and development.

Datapoint

$296,316
Akonni Biosystems, a biotechnology company developing array-based tests for infectious diseases, recently won this grant from nih to steer its R&D work for the first time toward protein diagnostics.

Funded Grants

$221,400/FY 2008
An open-source algorithm isolating overlapping signatures in microarray data
Grantee: Michael Ochs, Johns Hopkins University
Began: Sep. 1, 2008; Ends: Aug. 31, 2010
Ochs will use this award to create an "open-source, statistically powerful, and flexible" algorithm to identify transcriptional signatures. The software will use existing biological knowledge to create a novel Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm to infer the activity of biological processes through the use of enrichment analysis. Ochs will also write an open-source algorithm both in the R language and as a GenePattern module.

$286,660/FY 2008
QTL and microarray mapping lead sensitivity genes
Grantee: Douglas Ruden, Wayne State University
Began: Sep. 24, 2004; Ends: May 31, 2009
Ruden's aim is to identify "protective genes" in the fruit fly that confer resistant to the behavioral and developmental effects of lead toxicity using quantitative trait loci mapping techniques combined with microarray and genetic analyses. He will expose larvae to environmentally relevant doses of lead, and, after identifying the genes affected, will then determine the effects of lead on cognition, locomotion, and synaptic function.

The Scan

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