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Agilent s Biosciences Products Get OK from Midwest Research Institute for Use in Homeland Security, Biodefense

NEW YORK, Feb. 2 (GenomeWeb News) - Agilent Technologies and the Midwest Research Institute revealed today that they have been working on a project to test Agilent's biotechnology instruments for use in biological and chemical defense research.

MRI, a leading center for biological and chemical defense research in the United States, said they have been submitting the Agilent 2100 bioanalyzer and Agilent 5100 automated lab-on-a-chip to "real-world" testing that the microarray company cannot perform in its own labs.

Though MRI is an independent organization, it has been providing the US government with its expertise and services for over 40 years. A spokesperson for the company said that though the study doesn't guarantee that the Agilent products will be placed in anyone's biodefense or homeland security program, it is still significant for the company.

MRI is testing the capabilities of the analytical instruments in high-throughput pathogen detection, and used its multiplexing PCR technology with the Agilent products to monitor biological threat agents.

Steve Lufkin, MRI's senior vice president of technology and strategic business development, said in a statement that Agilent's 5100 lab on chip platform "is a promising instrument for automated high-throughput sample screening in biodefense applications."

Lufkin said that a need exists in the biodefense environment "to balance accuracy with the cost and speed of collecting and analyzing volumes of critical information."

"It is essential to have bioanalysis equipment, such as the Agilent 5100, that makes full use of our multiplexing capabilities," he said.