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Blood Diagnostics Firm Phadia To Use Aushon Arrayer for Allergy Test Development

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By Justin Petrone

Aushon Biosystems this week said it has placed its 2470 Arrayer with Phadia, an Uppsala, Sweden-based blood diagnostics firm.

Phadia's Multiplexing Diagnostics division will use the 2470 in its research efforts to characterize new allergens and to discover biomarker signatures that can be used in the molecular diagnosis of allergies and autoimmune diseases.

Aushon spokesperson Alan Poon told BioArray News this week that the partnership with Phadia could "drive further adoption of our technology by others in this space." Poon noted that the "multiplex diagnostic assay area …, is a high growth area of the proteomic market."

Christian Harwanegg, chief operating officer at Phadia Multiplexing Diagnostics, said the firm selected the 2470 to improve its array printing capabilities. The study of antigens often requires specific buffers or additives, he said, a situation that compelled Phadia to invest in a new arrayer.

"We … needed to focus on our application and assay content optimization, and not just on our manufacturing processes," Harwanegg said. "By integrating the 2470 into our process stream, we’ll be able to optimize our output, while realizing better print quality — including control volumes and grid precision, [at] far lower operating costs than with our previous printing technology," he said.

Harwanegg did not name Phadia's previous printing platform.

Launched in 2006, the 2470 is Billerica, Mass.-based Aushon's flagship arrayer instrument. The company last year acquired the SearchLight protein array assets from Thermo Fisher Scientific, and is currently rolling out toxicology panels to suit the needs of pharmaceutical clients.(BAN 4/27/2010). It also has long-term plans to enter the molecular diagnostics market, and Poon hinted the recent Phadia deal could facilitate such an entry.

"There are opportunities for a much broader collaboration between Phadia and Aushon," he said, though he declined to discuss the nature of those opportunities. "Although we don’t plan to compete directly with our customers, we can acquire content and perform diagnostic tests in our CLIA-certified lab," Poon said.

Beyond opportunities in diagnostics, the company continues to sell its 2470 arrayer instruments and has announced a number of deals in recent months. In February, for instance, it announced the placement of a 2470 with the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland in Helsinki for use in the institute's cell microarray screening program (BAN 3/30/2010). In May, Aushon also placed a system with the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich., for use in its Laboratory of Cancer Immunodiagnostics (BAN 5/11/2010).

Financial details of Aushon's recent placement with Phadia were not discussed.

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