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CombiMatrix Eyes Distribution Partners As Key to Continued Revenue


CMDX's New CSO Says Firm 'Not Married' to Any Single Platform

VANCOUVER, BC -- "CombiMatrix Molecular Diagnostics is not married to any platform whatsoever," according to the firm's new chief scientific officer and vice president Mansoor Mohammed.

Mohammed told attendees at the World Microarray Congress that his company, created in May 2005 by CombiMatrix, is "about is using the best tools available in a clinical setting."

He told BioArray News in a follow-up interview that he believes that there are many that think CMDX's mission is to use only CombiMatrix microarray technology in the clinic, but he said that the company is not anchored to its parent's array platform

"CMDX is a diagnostic company born out of CMBX, but our first product has nothing to do with the CMBX platform," he said. "We are not limited to oligo arrays."

As CMDX announced two weeks ago, its first product is a comparative genomic hybridization microarray for diagnosing genetic anomalies associated with mental retardation. The company is initially manufacturing them for Paris-based Array Genomics which will market the tests on its own in Europe. Mohammed said that CMDX will begin offering the tests in its lab next month (see BAN 3/14/2006).

Mohammed also said CMDX's array CGH chip is "very similar" to chips used by rivals Signature Genomic Laboratories and Baylor College of Medicine in their testing services, but said the firm hopes to elbow its way into the marketplace with competitive prices. Signature Genomics, for example, currently offers its test for around $1,600, while Mohammed said that CMDX is aiming for a $1,000 price tag.

Like Signature and Baylor, CMDX's arrays use bacterial artificial chromosomes, rather than oligonucleotides. But though its first offering is a radical departure from CombiMatrix's technology, Mohammed said that the company will definitely use its parent's technology in the future.

"As a diagnostics company, one of the platforms we will use is CMBX, for infectious diseases in particular," he said.

PBR to Open Doors as Affy Service Provider Next Month

VANCOUVER, BC -- Precision Biomarker Resources, a commercial spin-off of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Program at Chicago's Children's Memorial Research Center, will open its doors as an Affymetrix service provider next month, according to a PBR official.

Eric Bremer, PBR's chief scientific officer and the founding director of CMRC's brain tumor research program, said that the new shop will offer Affymetrix microarray services for gene expression, SNP genotyping, and tiling and exon array studies. Bremer spoke with BioArray News during the World Microarray Congress, held here last week

The privately funded startup will also offer RT-QPCR services, as well as data analysis and data mining for gene expression and genomic experiments, he said.

Operon to Add Yeast and Cattle to OpArray Offering by Summer; More to Follow

VANCOUVER, BC -- Operon Biotechnologies will add pre-spotted arrays for yeast and cattle to its OpArray portfolio by June, according to a company official.

Peter Schuessler, Operon's sales director, told BioArray News that an OpArray for yeast is scheduled to be released in May, and that a cattle OpArray will most likely follow, but no date has been set. Schuessler spoke with BioArray News during the World Microarray Congress, held here last week.

He said that Operon has had inquires for pre-spotted tuberculosis, E. coli, and rice arrays, and that OpArrays for these organisms could follow.

"The goal is that we will have probes from our [Array Ready Oligo Sets business] available as OpArrays within one year," Schuessler said. The company launched OpArrays for for the human, mouse, rat, and Arabidopsis thaliana genomes last week (see BAN 3/21/2006).

Schuessler said that Operon, which has historically been an oligonucletide company, has decided to provide pre-spotted arrays due to the needs of some of its customers.

"We have [some] customers that have been using the libraries for three years, but don't want to bother with the spotting," he explained. There are also "some [Operon] customers that don't have enough need or capabilities to purchase the whole AROS library," said Schuessler.

Affy to Release Third Installment of Tiling Arrays in Q2

Affymetrix said this week that it will release five new tiling arrays over the next three months.

The company said that the second quarter will see the release of its ENCODE 01 1.0R Array, which it described as one array designed to study the pilot ENCODE regions of DNA, its Chromosome 21/22 1.0R Array Set, a three-array set designed to study human chromosomes 21 and 22, and whole-genome model organism tiling arrays for Arabidopsis, S. cerevisiae, and S. pombe.

Affy made the announcement at the same time it launched a second installment of tiling products for human and mouse studies (see Products).

The company launched earlier versions of its tiling arrays for humans and mouse -- the Human Tiling 1.0R Array Set and Mouse 1.1R Array Set -- in January (see BAN 1/24/2006).

BioMicro Adds Distribution Channels in Europe, Asia

BioMicro Systems said last week that it has signed agreements with Genetic Research Instrumentation and ScienceWerk to distribute its MAUI hybridization product line to microarray researchers in Europe and Asia.

According to BioMicro, UK-based GRI will distribute its products in the UK, Ireland and France, while ScienceWerke will sell BioMicro products in Singapore and Malaysia.

Financial details were not discussed.

The Scan

Study Finds Few FDA Post-Market Regulatory Actions Backed by Research, Public Assessments

A Yale University-led team examines in The BMJ safety signals from the US FDA Adverse Event Reporting System and whether they led to regulatory action.

Duke University Team Develops Programmable RNA Tool for Cell Editing

Researchers have developed an RNA-based editing tool that can target specific cells, as they describe in Nature.

Novel Gene Editing Approach for Treating Cystic Fibrosis

Researchers in Science Advances report on their development of a non-nuclease-based gene editing approach they hope to apply to treat cystic fibrosis.

Study Tracks Responses in Patients Pursuing Polygenic Risk Score Profiling

Using interviews, researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics qualitatively assess individuals' motivations for, and experiences with, direct-to-consumer polygenic risk score testing.