Correction: The 09-24-03 BioArray News story, “Mike Hunkapiller, ABI, Stay Mum On Details of its Expression Array System,” which reported on Applied Biosystems president Mike Hunkapiller’s address at the UBS Global Life Sciences Conference in New York on September 22, contains errors that warrant correction.
The story’s headline implied that Hunkapiller did not provide details on the new expression array system. Hunkapiller did provide details about the system, e.g., that it would use “moderately long probes,” that the substrate was a nylon material where the probes were “not so crowded together on a flat surface as on glass,” and that it uses a chemiluminescence detection system based on Tropix technology that the company already sells. As the story later stated, the company had previously discussed nearly all of these details.
The story stated that “the 14 percent of sales the company spent on R&D last year, will fall to 10 to 12 percent of sales this year.” In the story this statement appears between two statements made by Hunkapiller. Hunkapiller did not discuss the issue of the company’s R&D as a percentage of sales.
It was Dennis Winger, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Applera Corp., who stated: “in terms of R&D, R&D in earlier years ran between 10 and 12 percent of sales. It ramped up to 14 percent last year, and we indicate that it will come down slightly as a percent of sales but it is our goal to continue to invest heavily during periods of high growth and periods of slow growth so we do have a heavy commitment to research.” While the indication is that R&D spending will fall as a percentage of sales, the 10 to 12 percent figure was taken out of context.
An earlier clarification, published in the 10-01-03 issue of BioArray News, stated that the 9-24-03 article “reported that Applied Biosystems President Mike Hunkapiller said the company’s patent, US Patent No. 6,573,089, “Method for using and making a fiber array,” referred to a next-generation microarray. In a later discussion, a company spokeswoman said Hunkapiller was referencing the company’s announced Expression Array System as next-generation microarray technology — not the technology described in US Patent No. 6,573,089. “Patent No. 6,573,089 is not for a next-generation microarray technology,” the company spokeswoman said in an e-mail message.
As a result, the subsequent paragraph that stated “If so, the microarray technology that some day rolls out of the ABI labs is a new take on using fiber optic wires and microfluidics as a basis for a mass-produced instrumentation system for gene-expression analysis” lacks adequate factual support.