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Cell Line Genetics to Offer Ambry Genetics' StemArray to Regenerative Medicine Market


By Justin Petrone

Cell Line Genetics will offer Ambry Genetics' StemArray stem cell quality assurance products and services to its customers in the stem cell and regenerative medicine market, the companies announced last week.

Madison, Wis.-based Cell Line Genetics provides services and products for evaluating adult and pluripotent stem cell lines for research, preclinical, and clinical studies. The company's clients include universities and research institutes, as well as biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

Ambry's StemArray is manufactured by Roche NimbleGen and enables researchers studying stem cells to detect genomic abnormalities that would ordinarily be missed by low-resolution karyotyping. The Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based firm launched the comparative genomic hybridization array last year (BAN 1/19/2010).

Under the new agreement, Cell Line Genetics has the exclusive right to sell StemArray products and services to its current customers as well as other companies and research institutions. The firms hope the deal will "dramatically expand the availability of the Ambry StemArray" and "hasten its adoption in the stem cell and regenerative medicine market globally."

Ardy Arianpour, vice president of business development at Ambry, told BioArray News that Ambry decided on an exclusive partnership with Cell Line Genetics because it wanted the firm to have "full control" to sell StemArray to its customer base "without worrying about us doing another deal with any other competitor. "

Arianpour said that Cell Line Genetics is the "perfect channel" for selling the chip because it has "access to thousands of customers that are doing karyotyping every day." He noted that Cell Line Genetics has a "very strong presence" in the stem cell and regenerative medicine market and Ambry believes the deal will "help accelerate sales."

Arianpour noted that StemArray demand has been "very strong" since its 2010 launch, but said that the firm "wanted to push the momentum and partner with a lab that has customers specifically interested in a product like this."

Similarly, Roberto Herrera, Cell Line Genetics' chief business officer, said in a statement that the combination of the firm's "expertise" in regenerative medicine and Ambry's research and clinical genomics resources "opens up a wealth of potential opportunities in product development and services."

Both companies believe that scientists will find the StemArray useful for assessing structural variants in stem cells and improving the reliability of their experimental results.

Aaron Elliott, an R&D scientist in Ambry's genomics division, told BioArray News at the time the array was launched that human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells that are cultured for an extended period of time are susceptible to chromosomal instability (BAN 1/19/2010).

To date, stem cells have typically been characterized through traditional low-resolution karyotypic analyses, which can only identify large-scale aneuploidies over 5 megabases in size, Elliott said.

Agilent Technologies was the original manufacturer of StemArray, but Ambry within the last year chose to move the chip to the Roche NimbleGen platform. The reason for the switch was primarily density. While the Agilent-made version of the chip allowed customers to survey four, 44,000-probe arrays per slide, the Roche-made version enables customers access to 12, 135,000-probe arrays per slide.

Customers "now get more coverage and higher resolution for the same price," said Arianpour. StemArray is currently priced at about $600 per sample, he said.

According to Ambry, StemArray currently offers increased probe coverage in over 60 pluripotent associated genes; increased probe coverage in over 200 cancer associated genes; 15 kilobase overall median probe spacing; and approximately five probes per exon in over 270 targeted genes.

The turnaround time for the StemArray service is about two weeks.

Have topics you'd like to see covered in BioArray News? Contact the editor at jpetrone [at] genomeweb [.] com