German array firm Scienion has established a US subsidiary to serve American and Canadian customers, the firm's CEO said this week.
Holger Eickhoff told BioArray News that the new office, located in Princeton, NJ, is "just the start" of the Berlin-based firm's expansion into North America.
While Scienion made its decision to open a US office to meet demand for its arrayer instruments and contract printing services, the move also follows the termination of a deal last month that would have seen Toronto-based SQI Diagnostics acquire Scienion for $15.6 million and enable the combined firm to reach more customers in both North America and Europe (BAN 10/11/2011). Citing market conditions, SQI was unable to raise the funds to complete the transaction.
According to Eickhoff, privately held Scienion's business in the US and Canada has grown to the "right size" to open a subsidiary, and the firm "needed to get closer to customers to support their applications after the SQI deal didn't materialize."
Founded in 2000, Scienion 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 over 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.
The company also has a busy original equipment manufacturing services business that has benefitted as arrays are used more frequently in diagnostics, even despite a shift in some markets, such as gene expression, that favor next-generation sequencing.
"Arrays are moving away from high-density research tools towards diagnostics applications, which are clearly supported by Scienion products," said Eickhoff.
According to Eickhoff, Scienion's US subsidiary will initially focus on selling and supporting its menu of arrayers. By the second quarter of 2012, the company hopes to offer contract services that are certified to meet International Organization for Standardization 9001 guidelines covering quality manufacturing systems.
For the past few years, Scienion had been serving the US market via distributors. Eickhoff said that the US market is "very diverse," in terms of customers and applications, and "this is why we need to be in the country directly."
He also said that Scienion will focus on serving North American customers for the time being, and has no planned expansions to Central or South America. Scienion currently maintains distributors in France, Italy, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan.
Craig Cardella, formerly the East Coast sales manager for Spokane, Wash.-based Matrical Bioscience, will direct Scienion's US office. Eickhoff said that he is not yet sure how large a workforce the German company will require to support North American customers. Scienion previously worked with Matrical in 2009, when the firms jointly launched SciSwifter, a microfluidic device for dispensing liquids into microplates (BAN 1/13/2009).
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