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PamGene Signs Collaboration to Develop Microarrays for Plant Pathogens and Pests


Dutch microarray startup PamGene has signed a four-year agreement to develop microarray-based assays for agrobiotechnology, in collaboration with Plant Research International, a Wageningen, Netherlands-based plant genetics research facility, and separation technology maker Whatman.

The project will focus on using PamGene’s PamChip as a bioassay for early detection of plant pathogens or pests that can destroy crops of commercial significance.

The PamChip uses a porous aluminum oxide material as a substrate, and combines this material with a method for flow-through incubation, in order to speed hybridization times.

“We are confident that promising and beneficial PamChip applications will be derived from this alliance, starting with microarrays for the detection of major plant pathogens in farming systems” stated Piet Boonekamp of Plant Research International.

UK-based Whatman, which has developed special “FTA”separation technology for plant nucleic acids, will supply this technology to the project.

“Whatman was chosen as an affiliate because of the yield and quality of nucleic acid material derived from plant material after using their FTA technology, “ said Tim Kievits, CEO of PamGene, in a statement.

This is the third collaboration that PamGene, located in Den Bosch, Netherlands, has announced in the past several months.

The company is currently developing special scanning instrumentation to read its PamChips in a joint project with Olympus Optical. Erasmus University also recently became one of the first users of PamGene’s technology, signing a four-year research agreement to use the PamChip to study gene expression in osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

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. The company said it plans to have 50 employees by 2002.



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