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GE Inks Deals With PAA and MatriCal In Bid to Broaden HCA-Automation Play

SAN FRANCISCO — GE Healthcare this week announced a pair of non-exclusive alliances it said will help it extend the number of cellular analysis-automation solutions it can offer its IN Cell Analyzer and LEADseeker customers.
The partnerships, with Process Analysis and Automation and MatriCal, were announced at the High-Content Analysis 2008 meeting, held here this week. GE currently sells no cellular analysis-automation products.
Under its agreement with MatriCal, the goal is to provide IN Cell Anlayzer and LEADseeker users with 96- and 384-well, flat glass-bottom microwell plates at a competitive rate.
MatriCal, founded in Spokane, Wash., in 2000, originally designed a flat-bottomed 384-well plate for Amersham and Praelux, which were later purchased by GE Healthcare, said Charlie Moffett, sales development manager for MatriCal.
He added that the plates would work equally well on other platforms, including MDS Analytical Sciences’ FLIPR platform, PerkinElmer’s Evotec Opera, and Thermo Fisher Scientific’s ArrayScan.”
Under GE Healthcare’s agreement with PAA, the goal is to match components and coordinate installations so that IN Cell Analyzer and LEADseeker users no longer have to work with multiple vendors to build an automation platform for high-content analysis and high-throughput screening.
PAA was founded in 1992 by several members of the British Petroleum Researcher Centers’ process analysis and automation team in the UK. The company provides automation and measurement technology to the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. PAA is currently headquartered in Farnborough, UK.   
The deals appear to be well timed. According to some biologists, automation tools for cell-based assays are greatly needed, particularly in the high-content arena.
Stephen Owens, an R&D scientist for high-throughput at Odyssey Thera, said that throughput is now at the point where liquid handling and sample generation demands automation.
Speaking to CBA News on the sidelines of the HCA conference, Owens said that Odyssey is in the early planning stages of increasing the level of automation in its high-throughput and high-content analysis work.
PAA and GE Healthcare were unavailable to comment at press time.

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