Arrayjet this week announced that protein-array technology researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology will use the company's Marathon inkjet microarrayer.
As part of the deal, financial details of which were not disclosed, KTH will also serve as a reference site for Arrayjet, and the two organizations will work together on publications and technology development.
Led by Peter Nilsson, the group will use the platform to produce "antigen microarrays for antibody validation and autoimmunity screening, but also antibody microarrays and reverse phase microarrays with spotted plasma/serum and cerebrospinal fluid samples," Nilsson told BioArray News this week.
The protein array technologies group, based in the department of proteomics at KTH, forms part of the Human Protein Atlas project led by Mathias Uhlén. Nilsson said Arrayjet's Marathon will "become a very important part" of KTH's instrumental infrastructure.
"All antibodies produced within the Human Protein Atlas project are validated on our antigen arrays," Nilsson said. "So far 23,000 antibodies have been validated."
Duncan Hall, the firm's commercial director, told BioArray News this week that his company and Nilsson's lab will "work closely" to "generat[e] publishable materials and data," and that "new developments in protein microarray technology may arise from or be co-developed between the two organizations."
The cooperation with KTH could work to Arrayjet's advantage. Roslin, UK-based Arrayjet, founded 10 years ago, has been developing buffers to improve how its microarrayers print proteins and standard operating procedures for protein-microarray production and post-processing, Hall said.
The company will be offering these buffers, as well as some other new chemistries, for sale "in the near future." Arrayjet recently began expanding beyond its core business of instrument sales and support to consumables (BAN 6/8/2010).
According to Hall, Nilsson is a "key opinion leader" and the sale to KTH is "of commercial significance as other scientists working in protein microarrays will be paying attention to what Dr. Nilsson is doing, and to what equipment he is using ." Nilsson "could have bought whatever he wanted, and he chose Arrayjet," he added.
Nilsson said he previously used GeSim's Nanoplotter 2.0E to print arrays, but selected Arrayjet's platform because it features an "appealing technology that will provide fast and robust printing."
Arrayjet’s Marathon is part of the firm's suite of non-contact microarrayer systems. According to the company, the medium-throughput instrument can print up to 100 slides in a single run. For those requiring even higher throughput, Arrayjet also sells the Super Marathon and Ultra Marathon, the latter of which can print 1,000 slides in a single run.
On the lower-throughput end of the spectrum, Arrayjet sells its Sprint system, which can print 20 slides per run.
Besides instruments and consumables, Arrayjet is also laying the foundation for a services business, which will allow it to compete against rivals like Dortmund, Germany-based Scienion or Billerica, Mass.-based Aushon Biosystems, both of which offer printing services on their arrayers.
Hall said the diversification of Arrayjet's business has prompted the firm to make some management changes this year. Sandy Primrose recently became chairman of the company. Primrose currently is a non-executive director at Lab901 and Cellexus and has been involved in the pharmaceuticals and life science research arena for 30 years.
Also, Iain McWilliam has transitioned to chief operations officer from his previous role as chief scientific officer, Hall said.
Hall has retained his role as commercial director "and will be developing the service business, as well as ensuring that the business retains a focus on instrument sales, which will continue to form an important part of Arrayjet's business worldwide," he said.