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Microarray Industry Targets Decision-Makers At ABRF Meeting in Portland Starting Feb. 28

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The best place to shop for a microarray platform this year may well be Portland, Ore.

No, there is no new super store there, but from Feb. 28 through March 2, the Oregon Convention Center in Portland will play host to the annual meeting of the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities.

At least 12 microarray vendors, including industry leaders Affymetrix, Agilent Technologies, and Amersham Biosciences in addition to Applied Biosystems, Genomic Solutions, Illumina, CombiMatrix, Schott Nexterion, Eppendorf, NimbleGen Systems, Expression Analysis, and OpGen, are scheduled to exhibit there.

The gathering is the largest this year of the companies in the micro-array industry, according to a survey conducted by BioArray News. (See page 6 for a chart of the shows where these companies, and others, say they are planning to exhibit.)

The array vendors are part of a crowd of 105 companies displaying in some 60,000 square feet of exhibition space in the convention hall for the eighth year of the annual gathering.

“The attendees work in core laboratories, and they are the decision-makers in purchasing equipment for their labs,” said Jean Lash, who is the exhibit manager for the show. “That’s why the show is so appealing to the exhibitors — there are a lot of decision-makers there.”

So popular, in fact, that there are seven companies on a waiting list to exhibit before an attendance that is expected to at least equal last year’s 800 registrants and another 500 exhibitors.

The conference, which begins on Sunday the 29th with a plenary speech entitled “The Human Genome and Beyond” from Bob Waterston, one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project, occurs early in a year when economic indicators seem more optimistic than a year ago.

“For this show, the economics are promising,” said Lash.

Amersham Biosciences will have one of the largest display areas on the show floor, hosting a 40-foot booth in an exhibit hall where inside booths cost $1,850 each and outside booths rent for $1,900.

For the companies, who measure the success of a show in sales leads generated, a general rule of thumb is that closing a sales lead generated from an exhibition costs the exhibiting company 50 percent less than the cost of a traditional sales call.

The healthcare and medical exhibition sector of the exhibition industry is currently a bright spot. According to the magazine TradeShow Week, the 47 shows in this category, which includes the massive PITTCON event, recorded single-digit increases in booth space, professional attendance, and exhibiting companies for shows in the first half of 2003.

For the microarray industry, the ABRF show appears to be the most popular among a set of four shows sponsored by scientific associations.

The next show to gather a significant presence of industry exhibitors is the Society of Toxicology meeting in Baltimore, March 21-25. Exhibitors there include Affymetrix, Agilent, Illumina, the Arrayit.com division of TeleChem International, Expression Analysis, and Ciphergen.

Following that is the American Association for Cancer Research meeting March 27-31 in Orlando, Fla. Slated to exhibit there are Affymetrix, Agilent, Illumina, Arrayit, Expression Analysis, and MWG Biotech.

After that, comes the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans May 23-27 where Nanogen, NimbleGen Systems, Genomic Solutions, and TeleChem International, will exhibit.

Notable international shows include: the 6th World Congress on Trauma, Shock, Inflammation and Sepsis Pathophysiology in Munich on March 2-6 with Affymetrix and MWG Biotech exhibiting. The same two vendors will exhibit at the Forum Laboratoire in Paris March 23-26.

Other conferences attracting microarray companies include: Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference in San Francisco on March 23-26 and Microarrays in Medicine in Boston April 26-27 (see chart).

The Nanotech 2004 conference in Boston on March 7-11 will feature Sir Edwin Southern of Oxford Gene Technology joining Ryan Egeland of Oxamer (see page 1) presenting on high-resolution electrochemical in situ printing.

—MOK

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