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Luminex Targets 2010-2011 for Low-Cost Platform for Near-Patient MDx

SAN FRANCISCO (GenomeWeb News) – Luminex is developing a lower-cost, lower-plex molecular diagnostics instrument that will be aimed at smaller labs and near-patient settings that it hopes to launch in the 2010-2011 timeframe, President and CEO Patrick Balthrop said today.

Speaking at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference here, Balthrop said that the new platform, called MagPix, will not use lasers and flow cytometry, which are utilized in its current instrument offerings. It will use lower-cost components and offer a smaller footprint than its current systems, the Luminex 200 and Flex MAP systems.

Luminex had mentioned nearly two years ago that such a lower-cost system was in the pipeline, and had previously called the platform BeadPix.

The Austin, Texas-based firm recently launched its FlexMAP 3D, a higher-throughput, higher-cost system aimed at larger labs. The system offers 500-plex capability – a five-fold increase over its earlier-generation system – and runs three times faster. In addition, Balthrop noted today that the firm's content from its Luminex 200 systems can already run on the FlexMAP 3D.

He said that although the firm believes it will be able to migrate its current assay offerings onto the MagPix, it will need to work with its assay partners to make sure that can happen and conduct a "different type of validation" for the new instrument.

Balthrop could not disclose estimated pricing for the MagPix. The Luminex 200 systems sell for around $40,000 to $45,000, and the new FlexMAP system sells for around $100,000.

In addition to discussing instrument and assay development, Balthrop said that two of Luminex's priorities for 2009 include geographic expansion, particularly in Asia, and an effort for better automation of its systems.

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