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Sequenom, Beckman Coulter, CombiSep, Nuvelo


Sequenom will begin selling a desktop version of its MassArray SNP-genotyping platform on Sept. 22. The product, which will be 73 percent smaller than the full-size system, takes 45 minutes to run a single plate, said spokesman Pete DiSpain. The standard MassArray platform takes around 25 minutes.

Another difference is that the benchtop system holds two chips per plate, whereas the larger one holds 10. With its softer throughput and a price tag of around $285,000 without the liquid handler — the larger instrument runs around $500,000 — DiSpain said the junior platform will be marketed to smaller academic labs and to the clinical-research market. “This essentially taps into a whole market that could not afford [the technology] before,” he said. The new platform also means to address the point among some researchers who thought the traditional MassArray was overpowered.

Competitors include Applied Biosystems’ TaqMan and Beckman’s medium-throughout GenomeLab platform, according to Edvin Munk, manager of product marketing at Sequenom. Though he declined to say what percentage of the $200,000 genotyping market the bench-top platform will occupy, Munk said he hopes it will reach or surpass the 12 percent market share the standard instrument currently enjoys.

Beckman Coulter has begun shipping its new CEQ 8800 Genetic Analysis System, which the company said offers double the throughput of its existing CEQ product line. The new system, which is part of Beckman’s new GenomeLab product family, can process two 96-well plates and can track the plates and data generated during processing using a barcode system.

The CEQ 8800 system automates and integrates the majority of genetic analysis functions into one system, Beckman said. With one gel, one array, and one software platform, researchers can perform DNA sequencing, heterozygote detection, confirmatory sequencing, mutation analysis, allele identification, SNP scoring, microsatellite instability, and amplified fragment-length polymorphism fingerprinting.

Capillary electrophoresis-instrument maker CombiSep has launched its Oligel gel technology for the analysis of synthetic oligonucleotides. The product, which enables multiplexed absorbance-based capillary electrophoresis, was made for the cePRO 9600 and MCE2000 instruments to provide single base resolution from 10-80 base pairs in length.

Sequenom has bought from Nuvelo all of Variagenics' chemical cleavage patents, including 25 issued and pending patents, and an exclusive worldwide license to nine restriction-enzyme patents. Nuvelo will receive a licensing payment and potential royalties for any eventual revenues from sublicensing of the restriction enzyme patents.

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