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Phalanx Biotech Debuts Program for Academics

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Phalanx Biotech, a Taiwanese firm that debuted whole-genome human and mouse chips for expression studies in Asia last year, launched a partnership program targeted at core labs in North America, a company official says.

The program, called OneArray Express, stocks core labs with large supplies of Phalanx's chips on site, thereby eliminating shipping and handling costs. The setup enables Phalanx to offer its One-Array chips for less than competitors' prices.

Luke Chen, Phalanx's vice president of sales and marketing, says that his firm's chips cost $79, compared with prices of more than $150 for arrays made by rivals like Illumina, Agilent Technologies, and Affymetrix. The company expects this lower price will help it attract cash-strapped academics.

Customers "can just place an order, walk over, and pick it up," says Chen. "Within an hour they should have arrays and be ready to run experiments. The goal is to make it easy and to make it cheaper for users so they don't have to pay additional shipping costs, et cetera."

"Having the lower price takes a lot of fear out of people using arrays," he adds. "It is a pleasant surprise to see postdocs and scientists that are willing to try this technology. Scientists used to have to worry that one screw-up could cost them $500. They don't have to worry about it anymore."

He says Phalanx has recently signed agreements with core facilities at Oklahoma State University, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and Harvard Medical School. Specifically, Phalanx's mouse and human OneArrays are now available through OSU's Microarray Core Facility, Nebraska Medical Center's DNA Microarray Core Facility, and Harvard's Lab for Innovative Translational Technologies.

The company is also developing a whole-genome rat array and a microRNA array, both of which are scheduled to be launched in the third quarter.

— Justin Petrone

Microarray Notes

Invitrogen recently upgraded its human microRNA-profiling research tool, NCode miRNA microarray, to version 3.0. The company plans to create a mouse miRNA microarray and launch it within the next two to three months.

Agilent Technologies has appointed Oxford, UK-based Oxford Gene Technology as a certified service provider for its microarray products in Europe. OGT completed several successful genomics projects to gain certification.

Genedata's upgraded Expressionist biomarker-discovery software has gained Affymetrix GeneChip-compatible status for exon expression applications. Previously the software was only compatible with Affy's expression arrays.

Datapoint

200,000
Number of patients diagnosed worldwide each year with early stage non-small-cell lung cancer, for which one of UK-based Almac's gene-expression signature-based tests is being developed.

Funded grants

$226,220/FY 2007
Microarray biomarkers of disease activity and progression in systemic sclerosis
Grantee: Robert Lafyatis, Boston University School of Medicine
Began: Aug. 1, 2007; Ends: July 31, 2010
Lafyatis will use the patient population and clinical trials expertise at BU's Medical Center and Dartmouth Medical Center's microarray gene expression analysis techniques to identify biomarkers of systemic sclerosis. One aim is to see if dermal gene expression is a biomarker for pulmonary and dermal fibrosis and another is to find a microarray profile to predict disease risk.

$325,182/FY 2007
Genome Integrative Pathway Modeling of Diabetic Atherosclerosis
Grantee: Jae Lee, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Began: Aug. 1, 2006; Ends: July 31, 2011
The aim of this study is to use microarray profiling technology to understand the regulation mechanisms of atherogenic pathways in diabetes. Specifically, Lee is hoping to: discover diabetic atherogenic pathway genes using statistical analytic approaches; develop a formal language framework to describe the expression of atherogenic genes; and discover novel atherogenic pathway mechanisms.

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