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Roche Affirms Plans to Commercialize NimbleGen Peptide Array Technology

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Roche still plans to make its high-density peptide microarrays available to customers in the future.

A company spokesperson told BioArray News recently that one of the Swiss company's priorities next year will be to "set up a strategic plan to best commercialize this technology." The spokesperson said that the company would be able to discuss more details once its plans are in place.

Roche said last year that it was "close" to commercializing its peptide array platform, which provides about 3 million peptides per slide (BAN 9/18/2012). The chips are synthesized using a maskless array synthesizer system, which employs a solid-state array of miniature aluminum mirrors to pattern between 786,000 and 4.2 million individual pixels of light to build the biomolecules on its chips using photo-mediated synthesis chemistry.

Roche gained the technology through its $272.5 acquisition of Madison, Wis.-based NimbleGen Systems in 2007 and used it to produce a variety of DNA array products, until it shuttered Roche NimbleGen last year and rolled its solution-based sequence capture products into a new life science research and clinical sequencing business unit, called Sequencing Solutions, that also contained its 454 sequencers (BAN 6/12/2012). .

However, the company earlier this month announced that it would discontinue the 454 sequencers in mid-2016, a decision that will result in the elimination of 100 positions. Earlier this year, Roche said that it would dissolve its Applied Science business area, and fold some life science programs, such as its peptide arrays, into its Diagnostics business by the end of this year (BAN 4/30/2013).

Roche's peptide arrays have been made available to some early access customers such as Peter Nilsson, protein and peptide platform array manager at Sweden's Science for Life Laboratory.

Nilsson told BioArray News earlier this month that he and other academic collaborators are still using the Roche NimbleGen peptide arrays.

"We are still working a lot with the arrays and we think they could be of tremendous value" to researchers, Nilsson said. He added that his group has "several papers in the pipeline" that feature the use of the peptide arrays for both antibody epitope mapping and autoimmunity profiling.

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