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Nanogen and Prodesse to Collaborate on Array Tests of Infectious Respiratory Diseases

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Nanogen and Prodesse announced last week a collaboration to develop microarray-based tests for infectious disease agents such as influenza, West Nile virus, and SARS.

Prodesse, an early-stage, Milwaukee, Wis.-based firm, will provide its multiplex amplification technology for use on Nanogen’s NanoChip electronic microarray platform. The two firms will create gene-based testing products for marketing to healthcare providers and clinical reference labs.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

For Nanogen, the collaboration will provide a selection of co-labeled reagents to run on its platform with an eye to the developing — and regulated — market for microarray-based diagnostics.

“It’s definitely a starting point,” Bruce Huebner, Nanogen’s president and chief operating officer, told BioArray News. “We are going to make sure we are all in line with good manufacturing practices. We are aware that the FDA is looking at a lot of these things and we have met with the FDA, but not specifically on that. We will keep them informed on our progress. Our ultimate goal is to have FDA-cleared products on our platforms.”

The company does not have a specific time frame for when tests coming out of this collaboration will become available.

“We are trying to finalize a timeline and have done some initial feasibility testing,” Huebner said. “We expect it to be sometime next year. Prodessa has the front end portion of the tests, the multiplexing capabilities, and we do the back-end detection. We have to do the optimization of capturing the target on the chip for the presence or absence of bacteria. We don’t envision huge obstacles.”

The collaboration between the two firms developed over the space of the summer after a meeting of the American Society of Microbiology in May, Huebner said. “We saw it as a chance to expand our menu into the respiratory market.”

Huebner said the respiratory testing market is rich with opportunity. He cited 1999 statistics counting 4 million cases of pneumonia diagnosed every year and an estimated 73 million doctor visits for respiratory complaints.

— MOK

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