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Corning and BioDiscovery Pen Agreement to Co-Market Microarrays and Imaging Software


Corning and microarray software developer BioDiscovery have signed an agreement to co-market Corning''''s gene arrays and Bio-Discovery''''s array imaging software, and make BioDiscovery''''s software compatible with Corning arrays, the companies said.

Under the non-exclusive agreement, BioDiscovery, of Los Angeles, will add software templates that researchers can use to view Corning''''s prefabricated arrays to its ImaGene array visualization program, and the companies will market their products to each other''''s customers, said Greg Moore, BioDiscovery''''s vice president of business development.

Corning already includes with its arrays a compact disc that has templates for the arrays, as well as the complete gene list for the cDNA arrays. While this template can be exported into almost any array imaging software, the company said it wanted to eliminate this step.

"We want to allow ease of use for customers," said Mridula Iyer, market development manager for Corning Microarray Technology.

Corning is seeking similar partnerships with other makers of array analysis software, such as Media Cybernetics and Axon Instruments, said Iyer. "Corning is an open format [system] and we really want to be compatible with several software providers so customers are not forced into using any particular software."

In addition to the software compatibility alliance, Corning formed a co-marketing partnership with BioDiscovery, said Moore, because Corning "saw value in tapping into our customer base and we saw value in working with one of the emerging leaders in arrays."

Since 150-year old glassware giant Corning announced last September it would be developing prefabricated microarrays, it has signed content partnerships with Incyte and Invitrogen, and inked a $10 million research deal with MIT''''s Whitehead Institute for future applications of microarray technology.

Corning released a yeast array in September 2000, and said at the beginning of this year that it would be launching its first 10,000-spot human array in June. But in April the company pushed off this launch date to later in the year after running into obstacles with its production process.

"We are now talking about late summer, for human index and theme arrays," said Iyer.

The arrays include cDNAs spotted down on the same type of silane coated glass that Corning manufactures for the flat display terminals of laptops, which the company said minimizes background noise on the arrays. The arrays are spotted down with special robots and a modified glassware device that Corning engineers have devised to increase accuracy of spots.

In this partnership, BioDiscovery will add templates for Corning''''s arrays to its ImaGene platform, which pairs an image of an array from a scanner with a grid template that matches it.

Researchers who use Corning''''s arrays "can just open up one of the templates, and place the grid down that matches that particular type of chip," said Moore. "The agreement calls for us to continue to make templates over a period of time as Corning releases a number of arrays."

The ImaGene software, which costs between $3,000 and $7,000 depending on the features, generates numerical information for each spot corresponding to gene expression intensity, and allows users to visualize spot intensity and perform ratio analysis of spot intensities. It is constructed on an open source platform, so it can be used with a variety of arrays.



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