NEW YORK, Oct 12 – Announcing its second deal in two days, Agilent technologies said Thursday it had agreed to supply its DNA Microarray system to Exelixis, a South San Francisco, Calif.-based comparative genomics and model system genetics company.
Agilent will develop customized microarrays for Exelixis using its proprietary ink jet technology, for use in expression profiling experiments in different model organisms. The companies did not disclose the specific financial terms of the agreement.
Wednesday, Agilent and Paradigm Genetics of Research Triangle Park, NC, announced a similar agreement in which Agilent will license its microarray platform to Paradigm.
Next week, Agilent expects add another licensing agreement with an as-yet undisclosed company to this string of announcements, said Wilson Woo, marketing manager of bioscience products for Agilent.
The key to these deals, Woo said, is the flexibility Agilent offers its customers in designing microarrays.
“We give customers access to an in situ microarray platform where we custom synthesize DNA microarrays for suitability to their unique design,” Woo said.
Athanasios Maroglou, Paradigm’s vice president of project management, echoed this sentiment when he spoke to GenomeWeb Wednesday.
“We can design our own arrays with our own probes quickly at a competitive cost,” and have the results within two weeks, Maroglou said. “And we have a lot of confidence in the data we are getting.”
Affymetrix also offers custom-designed microarrays to its customers for its high-density platform. But Woo said Agilent’s technology is easier to customize than Affy’s.
Affymetrix uses a photo lithography process where it must mask oligonucleotides that it does not want on the chip, then shines a light through the mask, while Agilent will program its ink jet heats to deposit the nucleotides in pattern needed by the customer, Woo said.
While Affy must do a separate mask for each of the four oligonucleotides, Agilent only needs to program its ink jets once, he explained.
“To build a 25 oligonucleotide chip, they need to make an entire set of 100 masks. What we do is all software driven,” Woo said. “We can change the [array] overnight without making any physical product. So it’s faster and easier to change the design.”