Scienion and Innopsys announced this week that they would combine their efforts to serve array customers by pairing Scienion's array production resources with Innopsys' high-resolution and infrared scanners.
Scienion CEO Holger Eickhoff told BioArray News that the companies decided to work together because they believe that there is a "need for integrated chip production and detection processes, especially where diagnostic applications are developed and commercially implemented." Under the worldwide, non-exclusive partnership, the firms will focus on a number of application areas, including DNA, peptide, protein, and antibody arrays, as well as reverse-phase protein lysate arrays.
Berlin-based Scienion's main contribution to the partnership is its menu of SciFlexarrayers for microarray production. The company offers six different models, ranging from the compact, entry-level S1 to the high-throughput, industrial-scale S100. Additionally, it offers original equipment manufacturing services, and spots arrays for a number of partners, including Genomica, Courtagen, and Anagnostics. Scienion also maintains a subsidiary in Princeton, NJ (BAN 12/6/2011).
While Scienion does offer a 10-micrometer colorimetric scanner, it does not match the resolution and detection capabilities provided by Innopsys. Originally an optics company, Carbonne, France-based Innopsys has carved a niche for itself in the microarray market by specializing in high-resolution scanners. Its InnoScan 710 offers 3-micrometer resolution, and the InnoScan 710IR is capable of imaging protein arrays dyed with fluorophores, an approach used to reduce background noise caused by substrates.
"Scienion thus far did offer a colorimetric reader, [but] the fluorescence detection of Innopsys, especially the IR fluorescence detection, is something that widens Scienion's offering significantly," said Eickhoff.
Innopsys, which maintains a subsidiary in Chicago, is also developing a tool for array production called InnoStamp (BAN 7/26/2011).
However, Laurence Bouet, Innopsys' managing director, told BioArray News that InnoStamp is still "under validation" and that the microcontact printing system will be focused on micro- and nano-pattern spotting. Because of this, she said that being able to work with Scienion — which sells multiple arrayers and offers OEM services — is "something that widens Innopsys' offering significantly." Additionally, she said the partnership made sense, as the firms "target the same clientele," and it provides Innopsys with a "promising opportunity to scale up outreach."
While Scienion and Innopsys expect to offer the market a broad range of applications, the companies underscored reverse-phase protein array assays as a good example of the benefits of their new partnership.
RPPAs are used in antibody-based assays developed for functional proteomics studies to evaluate protein activities in biological networks. The arrays are produced by depositing lysates from cultured cells or patient tissue samples on nitrocellulose coated glass slides.
Scienion claimed in the statement that it can use its SciFlexarrayer instruments to produce RPPAs "without damage to the surface" of the slides, and that Innopsys' InnoScan710-IR near-infrared scanner is the "only product that allows for IR detection readout of these arrays."
Because of this, the firms claimed that the combined offering will "significantly improve signal-to-noise ratios," and said they will offer systems as "full out-of-the-box" products with equipment and software configured to execute RPPA assays "from A to Z." They added that the availability of such a catalog offering for RPPA assays will lower the barrier of entry to using the approach.
Earlier this month, Innopsys announced the installation of an InnoScan 710-IR infrared microarray scanner at the RPPA core facility of the Institut Curie in Paris. The firm said the installation was the first of its kind, and marks the "beginning of the commercialization" of InnoScan 710-IR.