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GeneMachines Sells Two OmniGrid Robotic Microarrayers to Singapore Genome Institute

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GeneMachines has sold two OmniGrid microarrayers to the Genome Institute of Singapore, a new research institute that comprises part of the country’s promised $4 billion investment in genomics and biotechnology.

The Genome Institute will use the microarrayers in its genomics work on zebrafish and mouse model systems, cancer genomics, and other research.

Lance Miller, a former National Cancer Institute scientist who is heading up the Genome Institute’s microarray research laboratory, chose the OmniGrids because he had worked with two OmniGrids before, said Jen Martindale, a market research analyst for GeneMachines.

“He had worked with our instruments [at NCI] and was really pleased with its performance and throughput levels, and the flexibility that the machine offered,” Martindale said. “So he decided when he was going to set up his own microarray facility to put in orders for more OmniGrids.”

The OmniGrid prints 100 slides at a time, and can handle 74 plates at a time. The company claims that the arrayer’s 48 pins can deposit a 384-well plate of sample on 100 slides in under 7.5 minutes, and that its spotting accuracy and precision is within 2.5 microns.

The OmniGrids have already been shipped. Miller has plans to order additional OmniGrids as the facility expands, said Martindale. The parties did not disclose the financial specifics of the sale, although the OmniGrids tend to sell for under $100,000 each.

The Genome Institute is headed up by former NCI researcher Edison Liu, who has been recruiting scientists like Miller from around the world in the six months since he took the helm. The Singapore government has started the institute in an effort to help strengthen its biomedical sector, which it hopes to turn into one of the country’s leading industries along with electronics, chemicals, and engineering.

Liu told GenomeWeb earlier that he would focus the country’s burgeoning genomics efforts on molecular epidemiology, pharmacogenomics, comparative genomics, and cell biology and that he would look to commercialize any findings and to partner with local companies and institutes. He also said that population genomics work, including a database of Asian genomic information, would take advantage of Singapore’s ethnic diversity, which includes populations of ethnic Chinese, South Indian, and Malay citizens.

— MMJ

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