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PerkinElmer to Shutter Signature Genomics Business

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – PerkinElmer has decided to close its Signature Genomics cytogenetic testing services business.

A company spokesperson told GenomeWeb Daily News that effective May 2, PerkinElmer is "exiting its microarray service business, Signature Genomics, which provides diagnostic genetic testing services using microarrays."

PerkinElmer cited "changing market conditions, including a highly unfavorable reimbursement environment, combined with a significant decline in demand for invasive procedures due to the uptake of non-invasive prenatal testing" as reasons for its decision.

The company "remains dedicated to providing physicians and their patients a comprehensive offering of high quality prenatal products and services," the spokesperson added.

PerkinElmer spent $90 million to acquire Spokane, Wash.-based Signature Genomics in 2010. Lisa Shaffer and Bassem Bejjani founded the company in 2003, spearheading the adoption of chromosomal microarray analysis for pre- and post-natal cytogenetic testing, and later cancer cytogenetic testing. At the time of the acquisition, Signature Genomics employed 120 people.

Shaffer, who served as president and CEO of Signature from its inception, told BioArray News at the time of the deal that PerkinElmer had the "resources and worldwide presence to enable our combined testing services to reach more patients and families."

Both Shaffer, who had served as president and CEO of Signature Genomics since its inception, and Bejjani, who served as CSO, remained with the company following the acquisition. Bejjani left in 2011, and Shaffer remained president of Signature until the end of 2012 when she left PerkinElmer to found Paw Print Genetics, a clinical laboratory focused on genetic diagnostic testing for dogs and carrier screening for more than 100 inherited disorders prior to breeding.

In the years following its acquisition, Signature Genomics took part in several high-profile studies that led professional societies and organizations to recommend CMA as a first-tier clinical test, including a 2012 New England Journal of Medicine paper that called for CMA to become the standard of care in prenatal diagnostics.

Signature Genomics maintains a suite of prenatal CMA tests, as well as arrays for constitutional and cancer cytogenetic testing. Signature has also made its visualization and analysis software, Genoglyphix, available to its customers, as well as access to its database of 55,000 cases.