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Genomic Solutions to Add NuTec Clustering Program to Microarray Analysis Software

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Genomic Solutions has signed an agreement with NuTec Sciences’ life sciences division to jointly develop an expanded microarray analysis platform for Genomic Solutions’ GeneTac microarray system.

The platform, which Genomic Solutions will make available during the fourth quarter, will include NuTec Sciences’ microarray analysis clustering algorithms, and will integrate these algorithms with Genomic Solutions’ Integrator data acquisition and storage software.

Genomic Solutions sought out this addition to its all-in-one arraying platform largely due to customer demand, said Shannon Richey, the company’s executive vice president of marketing. “The customers have been saying ‘the image analysis is excellent, but now I need to cull this data and find out what the important information is.’ Clustering is something that’s very useful for these types of questions.’

Under the agreement, Genomic Solutions is paying a flat fee, plus additional support fees to Atlanta-based NuTec, but will not share royalties, said Kathleen Murphy, Genomic Solutions’ vice president of investor relations. NuTec, a privately owned company that also markets informatics systems to the energy industry, will have the right to separately commercialize any improvements in clustering algorithms it develops through this partnership.

NuTec plans to have the software, which it is modifying from its GLEAMS program for imaging and analysis of microarray data, finished and seamlessly integrated into Genomic Solutions’ Integrator within two months, according to David Gaul, NuTec’s project leader for the Genomic Solutions’ software. The program will include hierarchical clustering, k-means tests, self-organizing maps, and similarity searches.

These clustering algorithms “don’t differ that much from what’s out there in the public domain,’ said Gaul. “But the proprietary [aspect] is what we do with the results — how you get to visualize those results so you can actually see what genes are part of what cluster.’

The program allows users to map their results back onto the original microarray image, or to use a synthetic image, a display of the microarray in which each spot represents the average value of that particular area.

Genomic Solutions will include this new feature in the next semi-annual update of its Integrator software, which will be released in December, said Richey. Existing customers will either receive the upgrade for free or pay a nominal fee to upgrade. The new Integrator will also be offered as part of the GeneTac system to new customers, as well as being available as a stand-alone product.

Genomic Solutions’ GeneTac system includes an arraying robot, a hybridization station, one of several microarray analysis systems, and the Integrator software.

Genomic Solutions also markets pre-printed GeneMap microarrays, and plans to offer the arrays and the new Integrator software as a package in the future.

“There might be a ‘light’ version [of the software] that’s a little less expensive but is enough to get somebody started,’ Richey said. “That’s where a lot of GeneMap customers are, and a lot of value would be added to package the software with the microarrays.’

— MMJ

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