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Sequenom Enters Partnership with Hitachi for SNP Analysis, Sales

NEW YORK, Dec 11 - Sequenom has expanded its relationship with Hitachi, signing a multi-million dollar sales, distribution, and service agreement for its SNP system with the Japanese technology giant, the companies announced Monday.

Under the agreement, Hitachi’s trading company Nissei Sangyo will distribute
and maintain Sequenom's Massarray SNP analysis system in Japan beginning
this month, while Hitachi Life Sciences will run a SNP analysis service both
for research and medical diagnosis using Massarray systems.

Hitachi will also conduct its own research for SNPS with disease/drug
response associations using the Massarrays, according to an official Hitachi

This agreement expands on the initial relationship Sequenom developed with
Hitachi when it sold its first Massarray system to Hitachi during the
third quarter of this year.

" Japan is a very important market for us. They have a very large genotyping
market and a large pharmaceutical market,” said Charles Cantor, chief
scientific officer at Sequenom. " The Japanese government is putting a large
amount of money into genotyping, because they realize that the Japanese
population has to be studied in situ ."

Hitachi and Sequenom are targeting second year revenues for their
collaboration at 1 billion yen ($9 million), according to a Tuesday morning
report in the Tokyo newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

Cantor said Sequenom decided to partner with Hitachi in order to facilitates distributing its products in the Japanese market. " It would be very difficult as a relatively small US company to sell and market our systems in Japan ourselves. Japan has a very different way of doing business."

Sequenom joins a growing group of US and European genomics companies to
approach the Japanese market using a partnership model. In July, Nanogen
announced a 10-year manufacturing and distribution agreement with Hitachi,
and last month bioinformatics hosting solutions provider Viaken announced
it was “exploring” a partnership with Sumitomo.

Through its partnership with Hitachi, Sequenom hopes to become the
number-one player in the Japanese SNP analysis market. " Suffice it to say
it's not the end of our plans for the Japanese nation," said Cantor. " We are
becoming the dominant SNP analysis technology in many markets. When all the
cards are shaken, we will probably become dominant in Japan as well."

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