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Ocimum Eyes Chip Market with MWG s Array Unit

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Ocimum Biosolutions has agreed to acquire the core microarray assets of MWG Biotech, giving the Hyderabad, India-based provider of microarray analysis services a new role as a supplier of chips and amplification kits.

The MWG assets include custom and catalog microarrays, including a 40K human genome chip; the ExpressArt mRNA Amplification Kits; a hybridization service; a bioinformatics service; and an online gene index for all of the catalog arrays’ content. Ocimum would also retain MWG’s 300 clients, but none of its employees.

Anarudha Acharya, Ocimum’s CEO, says the acquisition of MWG Biotech’s genomic diagnosis unit was the logical step for her four-year-old company.

Ebersberg, Germany-based MWG shuttered both its genomic diagnosis (microarray) and genomic technologies (lab automation) units following its decision to focus on core genomics services for the research and development market.

Acharya says Ocimum would move MWG’s Greensboro, NC, office to its Indianapolis facility, and the German company’s office in Bangalore, India to Ocimum’s headquarters in Hyderabad.

Ocimum has locations in India and in the US, and Acharya says her company’s services would be available worldwide. The company contracts distributors in Japan, Taiwan, Israel, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere, and is prepared to provide its new microarray products to whomever wants to buy them, she adds. Central to Ocimum’s objectives is reducing the cost of the technology to researchers, and Ocimum would be offering discounted rates for first time clients as well as quantitative discounts for those that buy a certain number of chips, she says.

— Justin Petrone

 

PATENT WATCH

US Patent No. 6,864,071. Multiplex amplification and separation of nucleic acid sequences using ligation-dependent strand displacement amplification and bioelectronic chip technology. Inventors: John Carrino, Louis Gerrue, Jonathon Diver. Assignee: Nanogen/Becton Dickinson Partnership. Issued: March 8, 2005.

This invention relates broadly to devices, methods, and compositions of matter for the multiplex amplification, detection, and analysis of nucleic acid sequences wherein the amplification, detection, and analysis are optimally accomplished using strand displacement amplification in combination with bioelectronic microchip technology. The invention provides various efficient and optimal methods of amplifying target nucleic acids of interest as well as methods for analyzing resultant amplicons.

 

US Patent No. 6,862,363. Image metrics in the statistical analysis of DNA microarray data. Inventors: Carl Brown, Paul Goodwin. Assignee: Applied Precision. Issued: March 1, 2005.

In spotted microarrays, fluorescently labeled cDNA from experimental and control cells is hybridized to arrayed target DNA and the arrays imaged at two or more wavelengths. Statistical analysis is performed on microarray images and shows that non-additive background, high intensity fluctuations across spots, and fabrication artifacts interfere with the accurate determination of intensity information. The probability density distributions generated by pixel-by-pixel analysis of images can be used to measure the precision with which spot intensities are determined.

 

Datapoint

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CombiMatrix’s DNA revenues for the fourth quarter of 2004 were $522,000, up from $53,000 during the same quarter a year ago. Revenues comprised $390,000 from government contracts — $73,000 of which were array sales — and $132,000 from CustomArray products and services.

 

A European consortium led by UK-based analytical laboratory LGC has publicly released a set of comparative microarray data through the European Bioinformatics Institute’s ArrayExpress database. The data includes information from a comparative study of a brain sample and universal reference sample on four commercially available arrays, with between 4,000 and 30,000 human genes probed per array.

 

As a subcontractor for NCI, the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix, Ariz., will map single nucleotide polymorphisms in 1,000 MS patients using Affymetrix’s GeneChip Mapping 100K arrays. TGen will also profile gene expression in 1,000 MS patients using Affymetrix’s 133-Plus microarray platform.

 

Genome Express, a DNA analysis firm based in Grenoble, France, has signed a sales agreement with the French government to verify the content and origin of food products using its patented Gextrack DNA analysis services.

 

NCI says it has created the “largest open-source database for normal tissue from human organs,” containing expression profiles for 18,927 genes, obtained from 158 tissue samples. Tissue samples were harvested an average of 11 hours post-mortem from males and females of different ethnic groups, ranging from 3 months to 39 years of age.

 

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