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PamGene to Invest $3M Grants in Microarrays: Begins Partnership with Erasmus University

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Dutch microarray maker PamGene has been awarded $3 million in two government grants for research and development on its flow-through PamChip, and has signed a four-year joint research agreement with Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to study gene expression in osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

PamGene will use one of the government grants towards a $6.5 million research project with four Dutch academic research institutions on the microarray technology underlying the PamChip. This technology combines a porous aluminum oxide material with a method for flow-through incubation, in order to speed hybridization times.

The Den Bosch, Netherlands company will use the other grant in a joint project with Olympus Optical, which made a sizeable but undisclosed equity investment in the company in March, to develop technology to read the PamChip. Since the PamChip does not involve a conventional two-dimensional platform, it cannot be read using traditional microarray scanners.

In the collaboration with PamGene, Erasmus University will buy PamGene’s microarray system and gain access to a novel RNA amplification procedure that can eliminate gene expression bias related to PCR, the company said. Physicians from the departments of internal medicine, orthopedics and ear, nose, and throat will use the system in their gene expression studies.

“This collaboration will allow us to study the molecular mechanisms of bone and cartilage metabolism in order to discover new diagnostic markers and novel therapeutic targets in various diseases,” Harrie Weinans, the director of the orthopaedic research laboratory, said in statement.

These new developments comprise part of PamGene’s growth strategy, which it began in 2000 when it secured $6.4 million to commercialize its microarray technology.

— MMJ

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