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University of Pittsburgh Medical School to Alpha Test WaferGen PCR System

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – WaferGen announced today that it has shipped the alpha version of its SmartChip Real-Time PCR system, along with proprietary oncology gene panel assays, to the University of Pittsburgh Medical School as part of an alpha testing and research collaboration with the institution.

The SmartChip Real-Time PCR system is intended to be the first whole-genome, high-throughput gene expression, real-time PCR platform, capable of some 30,000 assays per chip.

Collaborators at the University of Pittsburgh plan to use the SmartChip system for research on biomarkers related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and lung cancer.

Under the terms of the agreement, a team of researchers led by University of Pittsburgh researchers Steven Shapiro and Naftali Kaminski will try to pinpoint these therapeutic biomarkers while doing alpha testing to determine the cost, speed, and other attributes of WaferGen’s SmartChip platform and providing feedback to WaferGen about the system’s performance.

“The shipment of the alpha version of the SmartChip Real-Time PCR System to the University of Pittsburgh is a significant milestone for WaferGen as we work to rapidly bring this innovative product to the market,” WaferGen Chairman and CEO Alnoor Shivji said in a statement.

Along with the oncology gene panel assays, WaferGen is reportedly developing assays related to toxicology and other applications that can be used with the system. The company is also working towards developing a system that can perform 100,000 assays per chip so that investigators can do triplicate whole-genome expression assays in triplicate.

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