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Orchid BioSciences to Open U.K. SNP Scoring Facility

NEW YORK, Oct. 19 - Orchid BioSciences announced Thursday it is establishing Orchid BioSciences Europe in Oxford, U.K, a wholly owned European subsidiary, which will open an Oxford-based SNP scoring and genetic diversity analysis facility for the European market.    

Orchid intends the Oxford facility to operate in a similar capacity to its current MegaSNPatron facility in Princeton N.J., which is capable of producing over 100,000 SNP scores per day.



“One of the rationales for doing the facility here is that we have a big opportunity in terms of collaborative relationships” with European pharma companies, said Christopher Ashton, vice president and managing director of Orchid BioSciences Europe. “It will build additional capacity, and the closer to the market, the better.”

Orchid Europe is now in the final stages of choosing laboratory space in the Oxford area, then plans to install a SNPStream 25K system at the facility and have an initial SNPstream machine up and running by the second quarter of next year, Ashton said. The company plans to ramp up to 100,000 SNP scores per day, then to begin multiplexing both at the sample preparation and the SNPstream end so it can eventually increase its daily production to millions of SNP scores. 


Orchid Europe does not yet have any partners lined up to begin SNP scoring and analysis in Europe, “but we’re in all sorts of discussions with a number of the top-tier pharmas over here, and in Europe, with middle-tier pharma companies, there’s more of a predisposition to license out their genotyping needs, “ Ashton said. The European facility will cater to these middle-tier pharma companies as well as biotech companies.

Orchid's only currently operational 25K SNPstream working in Europe is one at Smithkline’s U.K facility, which it installed in October 1999.

San Diego, Calif.-based Sequenom, which says its high-throughput MassArray SNP screening devices can perform up to 40,000 SNPs per day, has recently sold its system to the U.K.’s Sanger Center and the GSF -National Research Center for Environment and Health, a German governmental research institution.



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