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Jax Spinoff Bar Harbor Biotech to Debut Array Line

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Bar Harbor Biotechnology, a 1-year-old company based in Trenton, Maine, last month closed a “multi-million”-dollar round of series A financing that it will use to debut on the market Oct. 1 with not one product but a whole suite of gene expression-related products, including quantitative-PCR arrays and bioinformatics, created by and licensed from the nearby Jackson Laboratory.

While the products Bar Harbor will market will be sold in 96-well and 384-well plates and are not microarrays per se, the firm is strongly advocating that the array-using gene expression community will benefit from using its qPCR array plates, rather than more microarrays, to validate gene expression data.

The central platform in the suite is Bar Harbor’s StellArray Gene Expression/CNV System, which the firm describes as a “pre-manufactured standard plate loaded with oligonucleotide primers” that are “applicable for gene expression as well as gene copy number analyses.” According to Bar Harbor Biotech CEO Robert Phelps, scientists can use their own qPCR instruments to analyze the plates which will “not only allow researchers to quantitate gene expression but also measure genomic copy number in one homogeneous reaction.”

In addition to StellArray plates, Bar Harbor will offer its GeneSieve Bioinformatics tool that will enable users who are designing an experiment to trawl through publicly available databases to report useful relationships in gene expression as well as indicate chromosomal location. In general, GeneSieve is described as an “interface to perform gene expression and gene profiling analysis.”

Finally, the firm offers a third tool, its Global Pattern Recognition algorithm, which takes the qPCR data from a user’s experiment and “generates a ranked hit list of statistically significant changes between the test groups without reliance on the magnitude of the fold-change.”

According to Phelps, the target customers for the product line are researchers using microarrays for gene expression studies.

Justin Petrone

Short Reads

High Throughput Genomics will collaborate with the University of California, San Diego, to generate arrays from mouse tissue samples and from cell lysates to evaluate genes tied to inflammation and insulin production. Under the agreement, HTG will work with the UCSD Department of Medicine’s Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism to study how insulin resistance and inflammation function in diabetes. The agreement also calls for HTG to provide its ArrayPlate lysis-only quantitative Nuclease Protection Assay technology, or qNPA, which the company said allows researchers to test any sample, including fixed tissues, without extraction or target amplification.

French diagnostics firm Ipsogen has partnered with DNAVision, a Belgian pharmacogenomics lab, to provide a series of array-based microarray tests for breast cancer that it plans to launch next year.

After two years, the US Patent and Trademark Office has issued an ex parte re-examination certificate to Multilyte for its basic microarray patent portfolio, validating the IP.

Empire Genomics has non-exclusively licensed several of Affymetrix’s microarray-related patents to manufacture, use, and sell chips and related products and services for comparative genomic hybridization.

Patents

US Patent 7,262,032. Allele-specific mutation detection assay using an enzyme-disabling agent. Inventors: Afshin Ahmadian and Joakim Lundeberg. Issued: August 28, 2007.

The patent claims a method of detecting a base at a pre-determined position in a nucleic acid molecule by performing enzymatic detection reactions using base-specific detection oligomers. Also disclosed are methods of performing the assay in a liquid phase and on microarrays.

US Patent 7,258,990. Alleviation of non-specific binding in microarray assays. Inventors: Yehudit Falcovitz-Gerassi and Pavel Tsinberg. Assignee: Biocept. Issued: August 21, 2007.

The patent describes using a post-incubation treatment to effectively remove targets, such as proteins/protein complexes, or other label-bearing moieties that may non-specifically bind to a microarray substrate during a binding assay. Following incubation, a one-step wash is carried out with a liquid containing digester, such as a digestive enzyme or lysosome, that can remove non-specifically bound targets or at least labeled portions of such targets from the substrate.

Data Point

$20 million

Diagnostic tool- and microarray platform-maker Nanogen hopes to raise $20 million through a registered offering of unsecured senior convertible notes and warrants to investors, in order to beef up its working capital.

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