BlueGnome has opened an office in Singapore in response to increasing in sales in the region, company officials said last week.
Graham Snudden, vice president of engineering at the Cambridge, UK-based array firm, said that BlueGnome's Singapore office will initially focus on marketing and customer support. It will be headed by Tai Wai Yeo, a Singaporean native who joined BlueGnome in 2007 to set up production of its BlueFish fluorescence in situ hybridization probes.
Yeo later worked on several of the company's R&D projects and was involved at a senior level in the management of the firm's 24sure service lab.
"He is basically there doing marketing research and visiting customers around the region," said Snudden.
BioArray News spoke with Snudden at the combined International Congress of Human Genetics/American Society of Human Genetics meeting last week in Montreal. He said that BlueGnome has to date relied on distributors to reach customers in the Asia Pacific region, but the company was moved to open an office in Singapore because of favorable economic conditions.
"These are developing nations that have been poorly served in the past and are investing heavily in new technologies," said Snudden. "China is clearly a big market, Taiwan is big for us, Japan is big for us, Australia is clearly a big market," he said.
The privately held firm does not disclose specifics on its sales to particular geographical regions, but a recent company communication described a "massive increase" in sales to Asian customers.
The company said the Singapore office would be able to provide "more technical support" for local customers and "make it easier to provide training of new laboratories."
The company also plans to use the office as a hub for activities, such as the 4th World Congress on Human Reproduction, which will be held in Melbourne, Australia, in November, and the Australasian Society of Cytogeneticists, to be held in Port Stephens, Australia, next March.
BlueGnome was founded in 2002 and has to date offered a menu of arrays for use in cytogenetics labs. It sells its CytoChip ISCA and CytoChip Cancer arrays for constitutional and cancer research, respectively. Both chips are manufactured by Agilent Technologies.
BlueGnome also offers its internally manufactured bacterial artificial chromosome array-based 24sure platform for preimplantation genetic screening, and last year founded a company, called Sure Laboratories, to further commercialize the technology. The company also sells software and fluorescence in situ hybridization probes.
BlueGnome in July inked a supply agreement with Sunnyvale, Calif.-based SciGene, under which SciGene agreed to manufacture BlueGnome's new range of ClearLab hybridization and wash systems (BAN 7/5/2011). Snudden said at the time of the deal that BlueGnome's increased sales to customers in different geographies prompted the firm's decision to directly offer all laboratory equipment associated with microarray processing.
"This is purely down to global expansion," said Snudden, citing "significant growth outside the core European and North American markets," particularly in China, South America, and Africa.
"As microarray technology becomes ubiquitous, we are working with increasing numbers of national and regional centers that are interested in a one-stop solution for all microarray applications: constitutional, cancer, and PGS," Snudden said.
BlueGnome maintains distributors in a number of countries in the Asia Pacific region, specifically ShiShou KangXin Trading in China, Prisma Biotech in Taiwan, and Mecomb in Malaysia. Its decision to open an office in Singapore is not unprecedented. Affymetrix, Illumina, and Fluidigm all have operations on the island (BAN 3/30/2010).
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