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Eppendorf Shutters Microarray Business to Focus on New Real-Time Array PCR Platform


This story was first posted on Nov. 10.

By Justin Petrone

Eppendorf will stop selling microarrays by the end of this year as it begins to focus solely on developing its real-time array PCR, or RAP, platform.

In addition, the firm last year moved its US and German sales and marketing activities to its site in Belgium.

Wilhelm Pluester, managing director of Eppendorf Array Technologies, told BioArray News last week that the company is now focused solely on developing the RAP platform, which combines the "the specificity of detection and multiplexing capabilities" of microarrays with the "sensitivity, wide dynamic range, and speed" of quantitative PCR.

The platform will not be commercially available before 2012, he said

Pluester said that the restructuring has "enabled Eppendorf to focus all of the R&D capacity and expertise" on developing the RAP platform. The firm claims its approach supports the "multiplexing of PCR assays for up to 100 targets … in real time without the need of any manual processing."

Eppendorf said it hopes eventually to position RAP for use in molecular diagnostics.

Eppendorf Array Technologies was founded in 1999 as a spin-off of the University of Namur in Belgium. In 2002 it was acquired by Eppendorf, and since then has launched DualChip microarray products for applications such as genetic-modified organism detection and transcription-factor profiling on its SilverQuant colorimetric-detection system.

Over the past decade, the company also amassed an IP estate of 50 patents and patent applications covering the technology and maintained sales and marketing forces in Hamburg, Germany, and in the US.

According to Pluester, the recent restructuring was a "business decision by Eppendorf reflecting mainly the huge business potential of RAP and somewhat the limited market acceptance of low-density microarrays by the research community."

As part of the reorganization, the firm "decided to abandon all other microarray-related product lines by the end of this year, including GMO and TF chips," he said. It closed its German and US activities last year.

Additionally, Pluester noted that Eppendorf recently sold all IP associated with its Silverquant detection technology to Nanosphere. The firm's announced the $4 million deal in August after a year of litigation that saw Eppendorf block Nanosphere from selling products in the EU (BAN 8/24/2010).

The firm claims the RAP platform supports the "multiplexing of PCR assays for up to 100 targets … in real time without the need of any manual processing." A late-stage prototype, including reagents, a consumable cartridge, and instrument, has been successfully pre-clinically validated for fast diagnosis of ventilator-associated pneumonia, according to the firm.

Pluester added that Eppendorf is currently looking for a partner to accelerate the commercialization of the RAP technology.

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