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Canon Cleared to Start Selling Chips

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After years of flirting with the idea, Canon may soon enter the microarray market.

Shareholders of the camera giant recently approved an amendment to the firm’s articles of incorporation that will enable Canon to move forward with its plans to produce and commercialize its own line of DNA chips.

The participants of the annual shareholders’ meeting in Tokyo added a platform to the company’s charter that now allows the “production and sale of pharmaceutical products,” under which microarrays are covered as a legitimate part of the firm’s business.

“The approval by our shareholders of the amendment of the company’s articles of incorporation is important,” according to Canon spokesperson Richard Berger. “It paves the way for us to commercialize a product in the future.”

The move represents a new step forward for the company, which for the past five years has been racking up array-related IP in the US and toying with the idea of entering the market with budget microarrays produced with its Bubble Jet printing technology.

Similar news of Canon’s impending entry to the market was heralded in 2003 as well as in 2001.

But Canon is remaining mum about its new venture. Most of the information that Canon was willing to disclose is years old, and the company preferred not to disclose how and when it will officially launch its product, or in fact what kind of product it would be.

Still, all evidence points to the notion that Canon will have the clinical diagnostics market in mind when it launches a product. The earliest scientific articles published about its technology show that the company has known for at least five years that its chips could be used to diagnose and treat cancer.

— Justin Petrone

 

PATENT WATCH

US Patent No. 6,867,048. Multiplexed active biologic array. Inventor: Gregory Kovacs. Assignee: Nanogen. Issued: March 15, 2005.

This patent covers a method of addressing and driving an electrode array that involves addressing one or more electrodes within the array using a plurality of row and column lines. The patent also covers a method where a value corresponding to a voltage is stored in a local memory associated with each electrode. The addressed electrodes are then driven at the voltages corresponding to the stored values. The device may be used in the synthesis of biopolymers such as oligonucleotides and peptides.

 

US Patent No. 6,867,035. Cell libraries indexed to nucleic acid microarrays. Inventor: Christopher Ong. Assignee: The University of British Columbia. Issued: March 15, 2005.

This invention provides a method for selecting a clone of an embryonic stem cell containing a mutation in a gene that is expressed in a test cell. In addition, the patent covers a method for exposing the cDNA to the array under conditions permitting hybridization of polynucleotides in the array to nucleic acids; detecting hybridization of cDNA to a polynucleotide on the array; and selecting a clone in the collection from which a hybridizing polynucleotide detected is an exon fragment.

 

Datapoint

15

Percentage of analyzed DNA sequence from 10 human chromosomes that was transcribed, as determined by a study using new Affymetrix tiling microarrays. The study was published online in Science in March by an Affymetrix team led by Tom Gingeras. Most sites of transcription were not located in areas associated with protein-coding genes.

 

Expression Analysis and Covance have penned a new genomics testing service for biopharmaceutical companies that wish to do genomic microarray testing as part of the drug-discovery process.

 

The Harvard Medical School-Partners Health Care Center for Genetics and Genomics will use Affymetrix’s GeneChip Human Mapping microarrays in a genotyping study of atherosclerosis using samples obtained from the Women’s Health Study.

 

The UK Department of Trade and Industry’s Measurements for Biotechnology program has made freely available online a DNA microarray dataset comparing four commercially available arrays that probe the human genome.

 

CyBio, a Jena, Germany-based life sciences firm, has entered into a collaborative agreement with Axxam to use array technology and screening systems to develop new technologies for drug discovery.

 

Calling it the “Canary on a Chip” sensor, scientists at the University of Buffalo claim they have developed a new chip-based technology that can detect cellular responses to stimuli from pathogens to toxins to antibiotics.

 

Lumera will collaborate with the Institute for Systems Biology to develop a label-free protein microarray platform that will include Lumera’s NanoCapture microarrays and its ProteomicProcessor reader.

 

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