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PerkinElmer Launches Spectral Genomics Platform At ASHG, Promises Pipeline of New CGH Products

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NEW ORLEANS — PerkinElmer this week launched its Spectral Genomics Array Comparative Genomic Hybridization Platform, six months after it bought Spectral for an undisclosed sum, and discussed for the first time its plans to internally develop new products based on the system for use in molecular karyotyping and genome profiling.
 
According to Richard Eglen, vice president of PE’s discovery and research reagents business, the company’s CGH platform includes revamped legacy products from the Spectral Genomics acquisition combined with PE’s instrumentation and analysis software and new PE-developed features.
 
Eglen spoke to BioArray News at the American Society of Human Genetics conference held here this week.
 
PE’s new system consists of the SpectralChip 2600 array, a high-density bacterial artificial chromosome-based chip for genome profiling that was sold through Spectral prior to its acquisition by PE earlier this year (see BAN 5/9/2006).
 
PE is also offering the Constitutional Chip 3.0 array for use in investigational cytogenetics. The product is an upgrade of the chip originally developed at Spectral and it provides coverage of 42 disorders and 41 subtelomeric regions.
 
The Spectral Genomics platform also includes PE’s ScanArray scanner, labeling reagents, and newly developed SpectralWare Analysis Software.
 
Eglen said that the new system showcases PE’s growing interest in developing products internally rather than adding to its portfolio through acquisitions.
 
“PE is making a commitment in terms of mutual R&D as well as M&A activity in the genomics area,” he said.
 
Other products in the R&D pipeline include a higher-density SpectralChip for genome profiling that expands beyond the current array’s 2,600 BACs. The company is also interested in targeting the diagnostic market, but Eglen declined to provide details of PE’s pursuit of US Food and Drug Administration clearance for any of its array products.
 
PE has committed to using BACs on its arrays, though some competitors, like Agilent and Oxford Gene technology, offer oligonucleotide-based CGH arrays. “BACs give the resolution we need, even at a higher density, so our pipeline at the moment will be centered around BACs,” Eglen said.
 
To support internal development, Eglen said that Spectral Genomics’ R&D team, once based in Houston, Texas, has recently transferred to PE’s headquarters in Boston.
 

“PE is making a commitment in terms of mutual R&D as well as M&A activity in the genomics area.”

Chip manufacturing has been relocated to PE’s office in Turku, Finland. Only the Spectral brand name has been retained for use by the company. The Texas office will officially close in March.
 
Eglen said that the company was attracted to the nascent market for off-the-shelf CGH products — which includes a handful of rivals such as Abbott Molecular and Agilent Technologies — due to the promise of a “sizeable market in genomics” that can provide PE with “opportunities for reagent growth.”
 
Of all rival platforms, PE’s closest competitor will be Abbott’s research-oriented GenoSensor system, which also employs BACs instead of oligos. Like PE, Abbott also has expressed an interest in targeting the clinical market. In May, Abbott said it is developing a version of GenoSensor, called GeneTrait, specifically for the clinical market.
 
Abbott said at the time that it hopes to receive FDA clearance for the GeneTrait system by the first half of 2007 (see BAN 5/2/2006).

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