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Spot News from the Zurich Microarray Conference

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• Zyomyx plans to introduce a cytokine chip within a year and is actively seeking beta sites for the chip.

• PamGene’s partner Olympus instruments of Japan is going to launch a European sales team for PamGene’s chips, the instruments it makes to read the chips, and Evotec’s products in the second quarter. There will be as many as 70 people involved, according to PamGene CEO Tim Kievits.

• Biolog, which manufactures arrays of cultured cells, has developed the Phenotype Microarray, a chip that measures 2,000 cellular phenotypes simultaneously. The company currently offers array sets for gram-negative bacteria, gram-positive bacteria, yeast, and filamentous fungi. Within a year, the company plans to offer an array with human cells.

• The Deutsches Krebsforschungzentrum (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany, has developed a 12,000 spot cancer chip that used radioactive labels and was able to detect more genes than fluorescently labeled chips would be able to detect. Now the group is developing tissue-specific chips to analyze larger numbers of patients, and has a cervical cancer chip that it is using for a study involving 500 patients. The DKFZ is also experimenting with antibody arrays.

• Febit of Mannheim, Germany, which is developing the Geniom One all-in-one microfluidic microarray instrument, will begin marketing its first product at the end of 2002. The company is currently developing the software and batch production methods for the product.

• Microarray equipment distributor Buicher Biotec of Basel, Switzerland, will likely begin distributing the compact disc microfluidics chips made by Gyros of Uppsala, Sweden, within the next month.

• MWG Biotech of Ebersberg, Germany, has developed an automatic hybridization chamber for its microarray slides. The company envisions that users will incorporate the chamber along with an automated sample prep station from Biogene, and the magnapure purification station, as part of a streamlined, more automated array usage process. Before the company begins marketing the chamber, “we are looking at patents to ensure that we are not violating any of them,” said Horst Donner, who works in DNA microarray product development at MWG.

• Oligo synthesis company Eurogentec of Seraing, Belgium, is teaming up with Nippon Gene of Toyama, Japan, to make rat, mouse, and dog catalog arrays within the next few months.

• BioChipNet, a new free website, offers a searchable internet database on biochip-related companies and products. The site, www.biochipnet.de, is designed “to keep everyone informed as to what is happening in this community,” said Jutta Bachmann, a molecular biologist and information specialist who set up the site. BioChipNet is updated every two to four weeks, and includes sections on mergers and acquisitions; analysis software; DNA and protein chips; arrayers, readers, and slides; consumables; startups and spinoffs.

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