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Affymetrix Rolls Out OncoScan Service for Profiling FFPE Cancer Samples

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By Justin Petrone

Affymetrix last week introduced a new service that will allow its customers to profile formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded samples on its GeneChip microarray platform.

CEO Kevin King said that the new service, called OncoScan FFPE Express, is "being used by many cancer centers around the world in population studies for the most challenging samples." King spoke to investors about OncoScan FFPE at the UBS Global Life Sciences Conference last week in New York.

"This is a new assay that is used for cancer. It is a powerful technology that both researchers and drug scientists are beginning to use," King said at the event, which was webcast.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company currently offers OncoScan as a scientific service only. A company spokesperson told BioArray News this week that the assay will become available in a kitted format in the future.

"Eventually, after the assay service is streamlined, we will make OncoScan FFPE Express an off-the-shelf product so customers can run it in their own lab," the spokesperson said. She did not elaborate.

According to King, OncoScan is based on technology the firm obtained through its acquisition of ParAllele Bioscience five years ago. He said the company has tested the assay on "thousands of samples" that are as old as 28 years, and is able to obtain information on copy number, genotype, and somatic mutation in degraded samples. "I think this is going to be a big product offering for our business in terms of cancer genetics."

According to Affy, OncoScan FFPE Express is available to customers who wish to process a minimum of 44 samples. The service is run through Affy's Research Services Laboratory.

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