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Will Molecular Devices Acquisition of Axon Affect Cellectricon?

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Cellectricon’s single-cell capillary electroporation technology, ElectroFlow, is used to introduce foreign molecules into individual cells by applying an electrical discharge to the cell membrane. Lindberg told Inside Bioassays that the company is heavily promoting the technology for high-throughput screening using siRNA.

However, like traditional electroporation, the technology can also be used to introduce any impermeable molecules into the cell, such as DNA, RNA, chemical compounds, and molecular probes.

In fact, last October Cellectricon licensed the electroporation technology to Axon Instruments, a potential competitor for Cellectricon’s microfluidics platform for lead optimization screening of ion channels. Axon has in turn incorporated the technology into its Axoporator single-cell electroporation instrument, which the company is marketing primarily as a transfection tool for both screening applications and basic research.

Inside Bioassays asked Lindberg how he thought Molecular Devices’ pending acquisition of Axon would change the nature of this relationship and the cell-based screening market.

“I don’t know for sure — I think very few people do. But what is clear to me is that Molecular Devices has nothing below the 96-well format. Now they get the ImageXpress and PatchXpress. What will happen with the entire neurosciences business — from amplifiers to the lab bench version of a transfection instrument — I don’t know. But for me, it’s pretty clear that it doesn’t fully fit the Molecular Devices portfolio, including the amplifiers and everything for patch clamp.”

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