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Roche NimbleGen Q1 Array Sales Up 40 Percent on Sequence-Capture Demand

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By Justin Petrone

Sales of Roche NimbleGen microarrays rose nearly 40 percent in the first quarter of 2010, Roche said last week. A company spokesperson attributed the growth to "strong demand" for the firm's sequence capture, DNA methylation, and cytogenetic arrays.

Roche does not break out numbers for Roche NimbleGen, which has been part of the Swiss company's Applied Science business since it acquired the array maker in 2007. Its performance was in line with last year's results. Roche said in February that array sales grew 44 percent in 2009 (BAN 2/9/2010).

Applied Science, which is part of Roche's diagnostics division, posted CHF 226 million ($214 million) in sales for the first quarter, up 19 percent over the same period last year. Within the Applied Science business, qPCR and nucleic acid sample preparation sales increased 39 percent and industrial sales rose 31 percent. Sequencing revenues, derived from sales of Roche 454 Life Sciences' products, fell by 15 percent, though, and other sales decreased by an unspecified amount.

Roche NimbleGen spokesperson Kary Staples told BioArray News this week that the spike in array sales was "due to strong demand for NimbleGen array products globally." The Madison, Wis.-based array vendor has seen "significant interest and acceptance" for its workflow, he noted. The workflow includes arrays, reagents, instruments like the NimbleGen MS 200 Microarray Scanner, and software. Before it was acquired, the bulk of NimbleGen Systems' revenues were derived from its services business.

The "primary growth drivers" of array sales were Roche NimbleGen's sequence capture enrichment technologies, its DNA methylation arrays, and its CGX cytogenetics product portfolio, Staples said. "Our exome-focused products have been the main contributors to this growth, which includes both our array-based NimbleGen Sequence Capture and our in-solution NimbleGen SeqCap Exome product, though we’ve also seen strong demand for our custom array-based products as well," he said.

According to Staples, there has been a "concerted focus towards epigenetics" over the last year in the research community, with studies targeting cancer and other diseases. Because of this increased interest, Roche NimbleGen has seen a "surge in demand" for its DNA methylation array products, he said.

Finally, Staples noted that the cytogenetics research market is growing rapidly and said the firm has seen "significant growth" in demand for its CGX cytogenetic arrays. The arrays, launched last year, are based on a design by Signature Genomic Laboratories.

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