Looking to widen its appeal to protein array users, French chip maker Innopsys will later this year debut a low-density microarray spotter that relies on magnetic stamps to print arrays, according to its CEO.
Stéphane Le Brun also said that the company plans to launch an infrared version of its InnoScan 710 scanner to help researchers image protein arrays printed with its technology.
Both the new arrayer, which is called InnoStamp, and scanner, dubbed InnoScan 710IR, are scheduled to be launched in the fall.
"For our customers, it is very appealing to have a technology for depositing proteins and an infrared scanner for detecting them," Le Brun told BioArray News last week.
Scientists from Carbonne-based Innopsys discussed the new InnoStamp system at Select Biosciences' European Lab Automation conference, held in Hamburg, Germany, earlier this month. According to a poster exhibited there by the firm, the InnoStamp technology relies on a magnetic polydimethylsiloxane stamp to deposit biomolecules onto microarray and microfluidic surfaces.
A magnetic force is then applied to the stamp when it makes contact with a given surface, thereby "assuring both homogeneity and reproducibility of spots," according to the firm.
Le Brun said researchers can use the firm's stamps to deposit arrays containing up to 54 different spots, or to print biomolecules into 96-well plates. The system is intended to fabricate "small-density arrays for specific experiments in-house," he said. "It is not a high-density tool; it is a specific tool."
Though Innopsys' poster claimed that InnoStamp is "suitable for a wide range of applications from classical medium-resolution DNA or protein-array construction to the immobilization [of biomolecules] in microfluidic devices," Le Brun said the tool could be adopted most widely by researchers using protein arrays.
"There is a lot of interest in depositing biomolecules, especially proteins, [though] a lot of people have difficulty depositing bio content," said Le Brun. "It is not easy to use traditional spotters to do that."
Another application for the system could be for cell-microarray research, he noted.
InnoStamp, which is currently being evaluated at several beta sites, is set to launch "sometime in the fall" and will cost around $35,000.
Meantime, a new version of the firm's InnoScan 710 system, called the InnoScan 710IR, is designed to enable researchers to scan arrays in the infrared spectrum and is expected to minimize background noise in protein array experiments. The platform is expected to debut in September.
According to Le Brun, the system is similar to the company's confocal 710 scanner, except that the laser for detecting green dye in fluorescence-based experiments has been swapped out to permit infrared imaging.
He said that Innopsys has yet to establish itself in the protein-array market: the 710 and the high-resolution 900 have primarily been used to image DNA arrays.
"There is a market for people who have been using other systems to scan with infrared, but the scanning is not fast enough," Le Brun said of competitive offerings, such as those made by Li-Cor Biosciences. He said the new 710IR "has seen a lot of interest" from the research community, and that the combined launch of the arrayer and scanner will enable the firm to enter a "new market" — protein-array fabrication and scanning.
Le Brun said the 710IR will be priced similarly to the 710, which costs around $35,000.
According to Le Brun, both systems were developed in collaboration with scientists at Laboratoire d'Analyse et d'Architecture des Systèmes, or LAAS, in nearby Toulouse, with whom Innopsys has worked for five years. LAAS is overseen by France's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.
Twelve-year-old Innopsys launched the original, 3-micron-resolution 710 system in 2006 and also sells the 1-micron-resolution InnoScan 900 platform, an autoloader, and the Mapix software.
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