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Nanogen on Track to Stop Selling Arrays

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One year after announcing its decision to sell off its microarray business, and still absent a buyer or partner, Nanogen will stop selling arrays and supporting existing customers by the end of this year.

While the San Diego-based vendor has sold most of its NanoChip 400 microarray platform assets and inventory, it has retained the intellectual property related to the system, as well as the ability to use the arrays for internal R&D projects.

"We are pretty close to done with phasing out the array technology, but there are a few customers that will continue to go through the rest of 2008, and there are two or three that we will continue to support because they are more about multiplex applications and less about arrays," says Robert Proulx, Nanogen's vice president of sales and marketing.

"Other than that, Nanogen will be out of the NanoChip business by end of this year," he says. "The IP remains with Nanogen and, should sometime in the future we want to revitalize it or use it in some other capacity, it still remains ours."

According to Proulx, Nanogen will "continue to look at the long-term potential applications" for that IP, but has "eliminated all inventory related to the product line."

Nanogen announced in September 2007 that it had engaged Cowen & Company to help it find a partner or potential buyer for its array line, arguing that it did not have the financial resources to achieve its dual goals of becoming profitable while supporting the array business's larger R&D costs.

By November, unable to solicit any "serious offers," Nanogen decided to discontinue the business, and pledged to support customers through the end of 2008. Nanogen subsequently gave notice to 20 percent of its employees, contending that the cuts would save the company $15 million a year.

— Justin Petrone

Microarray Notes

Cambridge, UK-based BlueGnome launched an array for the investigation of the most common hematological malignancies. It is the first in what will become a new menu of next-generation cytogenetic testing chips, the company says.
 
Microcosm has entered the optical instruments and imaging systems market with the launch of its BioBright microarray substrates. Metal-coated slides are supposed to provide enhanced fluorescence and greater signal-to-noise ratio than competitors' products.

PerkinElmer has entered into a collaboration with the MD Anderson Cancer Center in which PerkinElmer will train the center's molecular genetic technology students in the array comparative genomic hybridization technique.

Datapoint

421 percent

CombiMatrix's total second-quarter revenues grew 55 percent, with a 421 percent jump in diagnostic services revenue.

Funded Grants

$286,151/FY 2008
Photogenerated Carbohydrate Microarrays
Grantee: Mingdi Yan, Portland State University
Began: Jun. 2, 2008; Ends: Mar. 31, 2013
This project focuses on designing carbohydrate microarrays for high-throughput screening experiments. Yan will develop a photoligation technique to couple carbohydrate structures to a solid substrate and then validate the microarray's performance in regard to reproducibility, stability, and sensitivity. The photoligation technique is versatile, can accommodate a variety of carbohydrate structures, and is compatible with existing microarray technologies, Yan says.

$185,000/FY 2008
Annotation-based meta-analysis of microarray experiments
Grantee: Christian Stoeckert, University of Pennsylvania
Began: Mar. 28, 2008; Ends: Feb. 28, 2010
With this grant funding, Stoeckert will utilize the MGED Ontology and MIAME standards to develop improved software for meta-analyses of microarray data. He proposes to extract annotations either directly from appropriate MAGE fields or parse them as needed from free-text descriptions, as well as cluster experiments or assays based on their annotation. He hopes this will result in better annotation of microarray experiments.

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