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Promega Hopes to Settle the Score

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Imagine SNP scoring with a Bunsen burner and home test kit. Promega’s newly patented ReadIt product isn’t quite that simple, but the company’s banking on the product’s versatility to lure customers, especially those in smaller labs.

ReadIt uses “specificity of an enzyme rather than probe hybridization,” explains Richard Schifreen, business unit leader for molecular diagnostics. During SNP scoring, the probe always hybridizes and the result comes from the enzyme, which is specific to a base match or mismatch. Because of this, factors such as temperature are no longer critical. “You can use the same assay conditions for all the assays,” Schifreen says.

Customers can design their own assays, reducing the cost of SNP scoring, he adds. Schifreen envisions people buying the “basic reagent package” and data analysis software from Promega and using equipment already in their labs or purchased from other vendors. Beckman-Coulter, Thermolab Systems, and Turner Designs are some of Promega’s enlisted partners who provide liquid robotic processors and luminometers to use during scoring. Promega expects a wide range of customers involved in human, animal, and agricultural research.

ReadIt, along with a companion product designed to test for DNA contamination in forensics labs, should hit the market this April.

— Meredith Salisbury

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