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Scienion, Genomica Partner to Market Multiplexed Molecular Testing Platform

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Scienion and Genomica will now offer their combined array-based testing platform to third parties, the firms said this week.

The new offering pairs Berlin-based Scienion's non-contact arraying and surface technologies with Madrid-based Genomica's multiplex PCR and microarray detection capabilities. The two companies hope that other firms will take advantage of those resources to develop new applications, including in vitro diagnostics.

Scienion and Genomica's offering has grown out of a relationship begun by the companies in 2009. Since that time, Scienion has manufactured Genomica's clinical array technology, or CLART, platform, and Genomica has introduced a number of array-based tests to market, including IVDs for human papillomavirus, sepsis, and other indications (BAN 2/8/2011).

"Genomica and Scienion have been working for multiple years to implement multiplexed molecular testing in an affordable format," Scienion CEO Holger Eickoff told BioArray News this week. "Initially this was done for in-house products from Genomica and now we want to open the platform for other content," Eickhoff said. "So if people have a multiplexed assay and are looking for a functioning and affordable platform, Genomica and Scienion can share their expertise in non-contact printing, multiplexing, reading, and interpretation."

Scienion was founded in 2000 and specializes in arraying instruments and services. It has launched six distinct sciFlexarrayer instruments to date: the entry-level model DW, which can produce four arrays in one run; the S3 for R&D applications; the S5 and S11 for medium-throughput array manufacturing; the S100, which can produce more than 1,000 arrays per run for high-throughput manufacturing; and the compact SX system, which includes components from all of Scienion's arrayers in one enclosure.

In recent years, the company has ramped up its activity in the OEM market, and it now manufactures chips for firms like Genomica, Courtagen, Procognia, and Maine Manufacturing, among others (BAN 7/3/2012).

Founded in 1990, Genomica began to migrate its tests to a microarray format in 2003. For a number of years, it provided its tests in an array tube format manufactured by Jena, Germany-based Clondiag Chip Technology, now part of Alere Technologies. Array tubes consist of micro-probe arrays integrated into a micro-reaction vial.

Three years ago, though, Genomica began to work with Scienion, which manufactures Genomica's tests in a plastic, 96-well microplate format. The platform, commercialized by Scienion last year as the SciPlex Plate, allows users to break off strips of wells depending on how many assays they need to run.

The CLART platform includes Genomica's Clinical Array Reader and the Clinical Array Processor, which are manufactured by undisclosed third parties. The CLART assay includes DNA extraction, DNA amplification, and target labeling, and specific hybridization and visualization of the results, according to Genomica's website.

The Clinical Array Reader then analyzes the precipitation staining pattern on the array and the results are shown on the system's touch screen and can be printed or exported.

Genomica currently sells seven IVDs in Europe on the CLART platform, including tests for HPV, respiratory viruses, herpes viruses, enterovirus, and microorganisms causing sepsis and gastroenteritis. In recent months, it also launched an array-based test for the detection of genetic mutations involved in tumor response to therapy.

Genomica CEO Rosario Cospedal said in a statement that the firm's "close and constructive cooperation" with Scienion encouraged the partners to "identify more subareas for joint activities as we move forward to tap the full potential" of their combined offerings.

In addition to Genomica's assay-development resources, Eickhoff noted Genomica's "track record of successfully marketed DNA-based IVD tests" and said that combining Scienion's non-contact dispensing technology, its consumables, and production capabilities with Genomica's resources could "speed up the development of better and safer in vitro diagnostics."

Financial terms of the deal were not discussed.

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