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Metrigenix, Neuralstem to Co-Develop CNS Microarrays

NEW YORK, Aug. 7 – Gene Logic spinoff Metrigenix announced on Tuesday its first deal, saying it would work with Neuralstem to co-develop low-density oligonucleotide microarrays designed to study gene expression in the central nervous system.

Metrigenix will provide its Flow-thru Chip technology, while privately held Neuralstem, a developer of stem-cell technology for the human central nervous system, will contribute the content.

The companies will aim to sell the chips to companies engaged in CNS research.

"Smaller, less expensive, focused-content microarrays are clearly going to play an important role in drug discovery," Richard Garr, CEO of Neuralstem, said in a statement. "Our jointly developed products will allow companies to screen against genomic targets identified from experiments on our human CNS stem cell-derived neurons."

Metrigenix’s chips consist of a three-dimensional substrate with vertical microchannels designed to allow fluid to flow through the chip. "Capture probes" are then used to collect information from the fluid. Gene Logic has said that the Swiss cheese-like platform offers faster hybridization as well as greater surface area, which increases sensitivity.

However, the company has also said that it is still developing the technology and working out the best way to pump sample through the microchannels.

Metrigenix and Neuralstem did not disclose the financial terms of the deal. Representatives from either company were not immediately available for comment.

Last month, Gene Logic announced the establishment of Metrigenix of Gaithersburg, Md. At the time, Gene Logic, which owns 54 percent of the company, said Metrigenix would market the Flow-thru Chip as a custom and pre-fabricated gene-based screening array to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and other life-sciences companies.

Oxford Bioscience Partners, Burrill Biotechnology Capital Fund, GE Capital Equity, and Infineon Ventures, the financing arm of German semiconductor company Infineon, have all invested in Metrigenix.

Neuralstem is based in College Park, Md.

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