Hoping a unique format will open doors in the research and molecular diagnostic markets, Anagnostics Bioanalysis recently began shipping its Hyborg microarray platform, which uses the firm's cylindrical Hybcell microarrays, to early-access customers in Austria and Germany.
CEO Christoph Reschreiter told BioArray News this week that the St. Valentin, Austria-based firm hopes to develop a reference base of customers for its Hybcell platform in Europe and will have a full commercial launch by the second half of this year, while it looks to serve the North American market in the future with the help of partners.
"We are having beta tests at sites in Austria and in Germany," Reschreiter said. "Our target is to place some devices in a couple of months. When we pass this stage, we will enlarge our geographical area in Europe," he said.
"Once we have the references, we think there's a good chance that this will become more widely available for research applications in pharma and academia," he said. "The absolute target for this year is to get some Hyborgs out on the market."
Founded in 2005, Anagnostics' platform is different from some others on the market. Whereas traditional microarrays are printed on slides, Anagnostic's Hybcell arrays are composed of detector molecules, DNA or proteins, which are immobilized on the surface of an inner cylinder. This cylinder is enclosed within a cylindrical container. Users fill this external cylinder with their sample, and up to 96 Hybcell arrays can be processed at a time in the company's Hyborg system, which integrates a thermal cycler, a hybridization station, and a scanner.
Since the cylindrical arrays are rotated within the Hyborg, Anagnostics claims that its approach offers faster hybridization and binding than other approaches. "Because of the movement of the sample against the array and the agitation, you have much more stable assay conditions," said Reschreiter. "It's like stirring when you are cooking," he said. "This is the idea of using a cylinder."
Current Hybcell arrays allow users to survey up to 200 different biomarkers per array, though Reschreiter said the company has enough real estate on its Hybcells to potentially look at 2,000 markers. "We are not looking to compete with Affymetrix and Illumina," said Reschreiter. "We are looking at lower to medium multiplex applications." As the arrays are printed on a cylinder, they can be scanned several times, allowing users to make kinetic measurements, he said.
"We have an endless microarray. When you turn it long enough the starting point will be at same spot. This is used in our device for kinetic measurement," Reschreiter said. "We can scan more than once. You can check how signals develop. This is powerful feature. It opens up quite a range of new applications, more elegant solutions."
Seeking to take advantage of the technology platform, Anagnostics' two methods in development are for affinity measurement and on-spot reactions. Reschreiter said that the firm may have an advantage over companies that allow users to measure affinity because it uses multicolor fluorescence-based hybridization, as opposed to surface plasmon resonance, which he described as a more "selective and sensitive" approach.
In terms of on-spot reactions, Anagnostics is trying to integrate PCR and hybridization in a single step on its arrays. "That way we can combine cycling and hybridization and measurement," Reschreiter said. "This is what we want to use for on-spot PCR."
Anagnostics is also developing a number of themed Hybcell arrays with a long-term view towards molecular diagnostics. Reschreiter said the company has programs in drugs of abuse, infectious disease testing, and oncology.
"These are the fields we are looking at and where we are looking for partners," Reschreiter said. "But we are a company of 11 people. We see ourselves as a technology provider. We have the technology and the methods. We would like to work with a partner that has access to content and the market."