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Agilent Licenses Custom Microarray Systems to Paradigm Genetics

NEW YORK, Oct 11 - Agilent Technologies has agreed to license its custom microarray technology to Paradigm Genetics under a technology access agreement, the companies announced Wednesday.

Paradigm will receive a second-generation microarray scanner, a probe design service and customized in situ microarrays to use in determining gene function for model organisms used agriculture, health and industry.

The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Agilent will not receive royalties from the deal, said Athanasios Maroglou, Paradigm’s vice president of project management.

The licensing agreement is a collaboration where Paradigm of Research Triangle Park, NC, will help Agilent develop high-quality arrays to use for the company’s own uses and in in situ deposition, Maroglou said.

“This is a win-win agreement between Agilent and Paradigm because Agilent gets into a new market,” Maroglou told GenomeWeb. “We’re their first collaborator and customer in the plants and fungal market segment, and at the same time, we’re getting the best technology that will give us the most relevant results.”

Paradigm considered almost all of the microarray technologies on the market, but decided to go with Agilent of Palo Alto, Calif., because they offered the most attractive combination of speed, throughput, flexibility, and cost, Maroglou said.

“We want to have flexible designs, and that’s what Agilent gives us: 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.”    

“It’s quite simple,” said Doug Forsyth, an Agilent spokesman. “We produce customized arrays on demand. They’re able to design the experiment and then we design the arrays around them.”      

Agilent developed its custom array technology system after talking with customers and learning that they were designing experiments around high-density arrays, which sometimes proved the limiting factor in what they wanted to accomplish.

Instead, Agilent’s technology gives customers medium-density arrays that include specific genes and fit the demands of the particular experiment, Forsyth said.

Forsyth acknowledged the process works best when a customer uses the company’s full spectrum of array technology, such as its array reader, as Paradigm does. If a company uses other technology, this hybrid might work less smoothly, he said.

Paradigm anticipates using the Agilent microarray system for thousands of arrays in the coming year, and anticipates continuing to work with Agilent into the foreseeable future. “I don’t see any reason to put limits on the length of collaboration,” Maroglou said.

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