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Virtek ChipWriter Compact, Virtek ChipWriter Pro

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Virtek Vision of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, has introduced the Virtek ChipWriter Compact bench top microarray spotting system, a smaller version of its Virtek ChipWriter Pro. This system can print 24 slides at a time, while the ChipWriter Pro can print 126. But the ChipWriter Compact, which sells for approximately US $37,500, is designed to be more affordable for researchers just entering the microarray field, said Philip Nafekh, Virtek’s chief financial officer.

“Our strategy with our instruments is to try to make [them] ubiquitous,” said Nafekh. “But not a lot of researchers can afford the cost of entry into the microarray market [with] the larger microarrayers currently available. When we bundle this ChipWriter Compact with our Virtek ChipReader confocal laser scanner for reading microarrays, the target price is both for $100,000.”

According to the company, the ChipWriter Compact is 80 centimeters deep by 87 centimeters wide by 67 centimeters high, and offers resolution of 1.22 nanometers (x, y), 0.61 (z) and minimum command step of 2.5 nanometers (x, y, z). The instrument, which has a 48-pin print head, also includes humidity control, a positive air pressure cabinet and a HEPA filter, the company said. It is available as a slide spotting system or a membrane gridding system, or a system that can perform both functions. The system also includes software that allows users to run the instrument from their computer.

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