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Applied Microarrays Picks Up CodeLink Tech and Staff

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Adding another chapter to the harried tale of the CodeLink bioarray platform, a year-old firm headed by a former Motorola Life Sciences official has purchased the CodeLink assets from GE Healthcare with the intention of keeping alive a technology that has won respect, if not significant market penetration, among array users.

Over the past seven years, CodeLink has passed through the hands of Motorola, Amersham Biosciences, and then GE Healthcare, which announced plans to shutter the CodeLink unit last December.

Now, startup Applied Microarrays is stepping in to market the peripatetic platform. The Tempe, Ariz.-based company purchased the assets from GE in late April for an undisclosed sum.

According to Applied Microarrays CEO Alastair Malcolm, the company will focus on retaining existing CodeLink customers — many of whom have already switched to competing microarray platforms — while it sets a course on using CodeLink’s manufacturing resources for custom array and contract manufacturing projects.

“The reason we decided to buy it is because the CodeLink facility has one of the highest-capacity spotting capabilities in the world,” Malcolm says. “It’s been used for the past seven years to print the products and the intent is to use that capacity to create a contract manufacturing and custom array facility that could capitalize on the site,” he says.

He adds that, while CodeLink was never number one or two in the expression market, it did have some attributes that allowed it to maintain a loyal customer base.

Malcolm says that Applied Microarrays plans to move beyond CodeLink’s previous focus on human, rat, and mouse whole-genome catalog chips toward a custom array business. “This is not just a CodeLink play — we want to partner with other partners that would just develop the content.”

He adds that Applied Microarrays has entered into “three or four discussions” with companies about custom projects.
Justin Petrone

Short Reads

Illumina is looking to establish an international manufacturing facility with the goal of producing its BeadChips for gene expression and genotyping sometime next year.

Perlegen has withdrawn its plans for an initial public offering, for which it filed last April. The company says that it is waiting for results from important genetic studies.

BioMérieux and NuGen Technologies signed a cross-license and supply agreement to share amplification technologies for expression analysis. The agreement gives BioMérieux non-exclusive rights to NuGen’s WT-Ovation RNA amplification system, and grants NuGen access to BioMérieux’s linear amplification technology. BioMérieux will use NuGen’s technology to develop microarray-based cancer assays.

Epigenomics will collaborate with Myriad Genetics to identify DNA methylation biomarkers that may predict patient response to a cancer drug. Under the collaboration, Epigenomics will use its microarray platform for genome-wide profiling of samples provided by Myriad.

CombiMatrix Molecular Diagnostics expects to launch two to four more array-based molecular diagnostic assays this year. Future tests may target leukemia and also update the company’s existing assays, which screen for congenital abnormalities in both pre-natal and post-natal patients.

Patents

US Patent 7,214,347. Printhead mounting system for a microarray spotting instrument. Inventors: Steven Burgarella and Paul Glynn. Assignee: PerkinElmer. Issued: May 8, 2007.

The patent claims a printhead-mounting system for a device that dispenses many small drops of liquid on a workpiece at the same time, particularly via a microarray spotting instrument for hybridization in which the liquid is dispensed into wells, according to the abstract. The system can be used with different types of pins or other dispensers for use in providing liquids to a surface.

US Patent 7,214,490. Method of target enrichment and amplification. Inventors: Xing Su and Shoulian Dong. Assignee: Affymetrix. Issued: May 8, 2007.

The patent claims methods and kits for amplifying a target sequence from within a nucleic acid population, and also claims selection probes that are complementary to at least a portion of a target sequence and mechanisms for adding a probe sequence to the 3’ end of a target sequence that is hybridized to a selection probe.

Data Point

1 million

The 1 million-SNP showdown in the whole-genotyping market could begin as soon as this month. Affymetrix and Illumina have both pledged to launch their arrays in the second quarter, and Affy’s SNP Array 6.0 is already being used by early-access customers.

The Scan

Review of Approval Process

Stat News reports the Department for Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General is to investigate FDA's approval of Biogen's Alzheimer's disease drug.

Not Quite Right

A new analysis has found hundreds of studies with incorrect nucleotide sequences reported in their methods, according to Nature News.

CRISPR and mRNA Together

Time magazine reports on the use of mRNA to deliver CRISPR machinery.

Nature Papers Present Smartphone Platform for DNA Diagnosis of Malaria, Mouse Lines for Epigenomic Editing

In Nature this week: a low-cost tool to detect infectious diseases like malaria, and more.