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Axela Taps Digilab to Market Array Analysis Systems to US Customers

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By Justin Petrone

Digilab will market Axela's gene and protein analysis systems in the US, Digilab said this week.

Under the terms of the deal, the Holliston, Mass.-based life science instrumentation provider will sell Axela's Ziplex system for gene and protein expression analysis and dotLab mX system for real-time immunoassays.

Steve Blose, vice president of sales at Digilab, told BioArray News that the firm sees opportunities for marketing Axela's systems to customers in academic and clinical research, pharmaceutical discovery, and diagnostic development laboratories.

"For Digilab, Alexa's systems will open access to formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded biomarker discovery and validation markets," Blose said this week. "I see applications in clinical molecular diagnostics, pharmaceutical discovery, and pharmaceutical mechanistic toxicology," he said.

Blose noted that the agreement with Axela gives Digilab the exclusive right to sell the systems in the US. He said that Digilab will reach customers via its direct sales force.

Axela was established in Toronto last year following the merger of Axela Biosensors and Xceed Molecular (BAN 7/27/2010). The company's two main platforms are its dotLab and Ziplex systems. DotLab relies on flow-based, diffractive optics technology that enables real-time detection of binding events and characterization of protein targets through sequential probing, according to the firm. Ziplex is an automated processing system that relies on a micro-porous substrate called the Flow-Thru Chip to support the binding or hybridization of up to 500 targets as part of gene-expression assays.

Paul Smith, vice president of corporate development at Axela, told BioArray News this week that the firm has decided to focus its resources on the development of new applications and products internally, while working with distributors that have existing sales infrastructure to market the dotLab and Ziplex systems.

"Digilab has both the direct sales and service resources to address the US research market directly and the products are very complementary to their existing line," said Smith. "We think this approach is the most effective way to get market penetration for both platforms across a broad spectrum of markets."

Smith added that Axela will continue to provide technical support to Digilab, and will work with existing collaborators from its Toronto facilities.

Digilab became a player in the array market when it acquired Genomic Solutions from Harvard Bioscience in November 2007. The company has to date stuck to the hardware market, selling products like the CellJet, MicroGrid, and OmniGrid microarrayers, Hyb hybridization stations, and its MIAS high-throughput microscopy reader (BAN 7/12/2011).

Now, through the Axela agreement, "Digilab will be able to provide sample preparation all the way through nucleic acid and protein biomarker discovery in one system," Blose said.

Financial terms of the deal were not discussed.

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