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GeneDataandAffymetrixtoCo-Market Expressionist Software with GeneChip Arrays

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GeneData has scored a deal with Affymetrix in which the microarray maker will promote and recommend GeneData’s Expressionist gene expression analysis software for use with its GeneChip microarrays.

The companies did not disclose financial details of the multi-year agreement.

Andreas Hohn, director of business development and marketing at GeneData, said that the partnership could have a significant impact on the software company’s customer base. GeneData of Basel, Switzerland, currently has nine customers for Expressionist, and Hohn hopes to see this number more than double within the next few months.

Affymetrix is headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif. Hohn said that partnering with an American company would help GeneData secure a larger portion of the US market.

This is GeneData’s first such co-marketing agreement. Hohn attributed Affymetrix’s interest in the partnership to the fact that Expressionist has “taken off” in Europe.

“In a way, the users told Affymetrix that they should work with us,” Hohn said. “Everyone in Europe who is using Affymetrix chips also uses GeneData Expressionist software.”

Under the agreement, the companies will collaborate to ensure a high degree of interoperability between their products. Hohn said that Expressionist is already “highly compatible” with Affymetrix’s products, but GeneData will work to adapt its software upgrades to coincide with new chip releases.

Affymetrix offers its own microarray software, but the company said it sought to partner with GeneData to add to its offerings in higher-volume analysis.

“Our higher throughput customers asked us to provide them a more scalable Unix-based solution that allows them to manage, analyze, and integrate the very large amounts of genomic data our technology generates with other genomic and proteomic data they generate,” said Affymetrix spokeswoman Holly Hartz.

“We decided that to quickly respond to customer needs we needed to look outside and partner with a best-in-class provider that will provide an enterprise-wide solution,” Hartz added.

Affymetrix currently markets its Microarray suite of software for viewing GeneChip images, MicroDB software for microarray data management and storage, and the Data Mining Tool for analysis of expression results from GeneChips. The company also markets Jaguar software for analysis of spotted array data.

“Our internal software development efforts are currently focused on software for running our instrumentation; capturing, managing, and analyzing expression data at a laboratory or small departmental level; developing databases for probe array design; and developing Internet-based delivery mechanisms for associated probe array sequence and annotation information,” Hartz said.

While other bioinformatics companies, including Spotfire and Rosetta Inpharmatics, market software products for microarray analysis, Hohn said Affymetrix chose to partner with GeneData “because we have a high scientific quality of data analysis.” He said GeneData’s only competitor in this respect is Rosetta, “and I don’t think Rosetta knows the Affymetrix technology as well as we do.”

Customers for GeneData’s gene and protein expression data analysis tools include Altana, Aventis, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, diaDexus, F. Hoffmann-La Roche, MediGene, MWG-Biotech, Novartis, Schering, and Syngenta.

— MMJ and BT

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