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MRI Grows as the Place for Biotech Firms to Get Noticed

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When Agilent’s automated lab-on-chip platform (ALP) Bioanalyzer 5100 underwent high-throughput screening at the Midwest Research Institute in December 2004, it joined a cadre of other technology companies that take advantage of MRI’s established profile as a reliable provider of testing for novel technologies.

The ALP is available as part of Invitrogen’s PATH Alert System, a microfluidic-based kit for chemical and biological threat agent detection, and Invitrogen and other companies have used MRI’s abilities to do “real-world testing” on their products before, spokespeople for the institute said.

According to Linda Cook, a spokesperson for MRI, the Kansas City, Mo.-based institute does not endorse new technologies, but rather is contracted by companies like Agilent to perform testing on technology that the company cannot do itself.

That lack of endorsement doesn’t mean that the performance of a technology of a product isn’t noted. According to Victor Truong, a spokesperson for Agilent, getting the ALP tested at MRI was part of a concentrated effort to make the technology, only available since November 2004, visible in places where it counts.

— JP

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