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Affymetrix Adds New Assay to Its GeneChip Line of Products

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SANTA CLARA, Calif.--Affymetrix here has expanded its GeneChip product line with the introduction of a DNA probe array-based assay for the simultaneous detection of 18 known polymorphisms of two human cytochrome P450 genes. The GeneChip CYP450 assay, developed with Hewlett-Packard, is the first commercially available DNA probe of its type, the company claimed. The GeneChip system includes disposable DNA probe arrays containing gene sequences on a chip, reagents for use with the probe arrays, a scanner and other instruments to process the probe arrays, and proprietary software to analyze and manage genetic information.

Affymetrix, which was founded in 1991 and went public last year, has announced the intention of establishing the GeneChip system as a top platform for acquiring, analyzing, and managing complex genetic information.

In other news from the company, Affymetrix and Molecular Dynamics, a manufacturer of integrated DNA array technologies in Sunnyvale, Calif., have formed a new consortium to standardize database architecture, chips, readers, reagents, and software used in the field of array-based genetic research. The companies are currently seeking biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, including bioinformatics firms, to join the group, according to David Barker, Molecular Dynamics' vice-president of research and business development.

The new Genetic Analysis Technology Consortium aims to create and publish a set of standards that will allow pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and academic researchers to use uniform reader, data formats, and reagents to process arrays manufactured from multiple sources, eliminating the problems and expense associated with using incompatible systems, the companies said. Affymetrix and Molecular Dynamics are basing the new consortium in their respective headquarters, but eventually want to turn over operations to an independent body.

The two firms also announced that they have signed a nonexclusive license agreement granting Molecular Dynamics rights to Affymetrix technology for commercializing certain low- and medium-density DNA arrays. Molecular Dynamics' product line includes DNA sequencing and microarray processing and analysis tools.

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