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WaferGen Names Early-Access Customers for SmartChip

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – WaferGen Biosystems today said that it has signed up eight new SmartChip early-access customers, including universities and service providers in the US and Japan, and that it has shipped one of its PCR systems to a customer in Japan.

The new early-access customers include Stanford University, the University of California at San Francisco, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas Southwestern, and two undisclosed Japanese organizations and an undisclosed US biotech company.

The company has adopted a commercialization strategy for its SmartChip Real-time PCR System that focuses on generating revenue through the early-access program before the system becomes more widely available, which Fremont, Calif.-based WaferGen said would occur later this year, as well as through its service offering.

The group of new partners for WaferGen's genetic analysis systems includes some customers that have agreed to use the SmartChip Service for gene-expression profiling at WaferGen's lab and others that have ordered the systems for installation in their facilities.

The SmartChip Service is targeted at biomarker discovery and gene expression marker validation studies.

The company said that it has received CE Marking for its SmartChip Cycler and Nanodispenser, enabling it to market and sell the products in the Japan and in Europe.

"SmartChip offers researchers the high-throughput capability of interrogating thousands of genes and validating hundreds of samples simultaneously in a single run using real-time PCR," WaferGen Chairman, CEO, and President Alnoor Shivji said in a statement. "This improved molecular analysis could thereby provide the potential for a patient to be diagnosed and even selected for clinical trials to genetic information."

Financial terms of the agreements were not released.

In Wednesday afternoon trade on the OTC Bulletin Board, shares of WaferGen were up 12 percent at $2.40.