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UPDATE: APBiotech Says it Leads China, Brazil Sequencing Markets

NEW YORK, Jan 19 - With the sale of over 60 MegaBace DNA analysis systems to research institutes in China and Brazil, Amersham Pharmacia Biotech said Friday that it is poised to dominate these markets.

These sales give AP Biotech “a market leading position” in the Latin American and Asia Pacific high-throughput sequencing markets, said Tracy Cheung, vice president of investor relations at AP Biotech.

The National Council of Technologic and Scientific Development of the Science and Technology Ministry of Brazil purchased 25 MegaBace 500 systems and China’s Hangzhou Genomics Institute, a subsidiary of Beijing Genomics Institute, purchased over 35 MegaBACE 1000 systems, APBiotech said.

The parties did not disclose the financial agreements, but Cheung said the average price for a megabace 500 system is $200,000.

The systems for Hangzhou Genomics Institute have already been delivered, and the Institute will use them in its human genome, rice genome, and pig genome work. This includes work on a hybrid rice developed by Yuan Longping at the National Center of Hybrid Rice Development in Hunan province, and the Sino-Danish swine genome collaboration.

The Brazilian Genome Project, a network of laboratories in fifteen states in Brazil, will first use the MegaBace 500 systems to sequence the genome of Chromobacterium violaceum , a bacteria of the Rio Negro in the Amazon region. Understanding this organism could lead to the development of new drugs for the treatment of two infectious diseases found in Central and South America, Chagas Illness and Leishimaniosis.

The Latin American and Asia Pacific high-throughput sequencing markets have more than doubled in size over the last two years, according to APBiotech. “A lot of these markets are starting to get funding for sequencing technology,” she said.

Cheung credits AP Biotech’s success in developing markets to its efforts to place local commercial, scientific and technical staff in these markets.

“We have very good relationships with people on the ground. We don’t take people from North America or Europe and ship them out to those countries,” Cheung said. “We have Chinese people talking to Chinese customers, and Brazilian people talking to Brazilian customers.” 

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