By Ben Butkus
RainDance Technologies this week announced the appointment of a new director of sales for Europe as part of what the company called an "aggressive expansion" into the continent.
"Europe is an important growth market for us both in terms of revenue and scientific collaborations," Richard Lussier, vice president of worldwide sales for RainDance, wrote in an e-mail this week to PCR Insider.
Lussier added that privately held RainDance is seeing "significant interest in our microdroplet-based platform across academic, government, and commercial laboratories;" and that RainDance expects its European business to eventually be about 40 percent that of its current North American business.
The company's new director of European sales, Mark Dronsfield, will be responsible for advancing RainDance's customer relations and growth in the research and clinical markets, RainDance said. He joins the company from Cell Biosciences, where he also served as European sales director. Dronsfield has also held sales and marketing positions with Solexa (now Illumina), Affymetrix, and Applied Biosystems (now Life Technologies).
RainDance said that Dronsfield will be based out of a regional sales office in Manchester, UK. The company currently has its European headquarters outside of Paris.
As part of its European expansion, RainDance will initially focus on the UK, Germany, Benelux, and France. Lussier said that the company sees the greatest interest in its technology from the cancer, medical genetics, and basic research market segments.
"Whether they are engaged in genome-wide association follow-on studies, ultra-deep sequencing, DNA methylation analysis, infectious disease or immunology, scientists are drawn to our microdroplet platform because it has demonstrated time and again that it enables a level of resolution and genomic coverage that that was previously unachievable with other platforms," Lussier said.
RainDance's flagship product is the RDT 1000, which uses microdroplet-based technology and PCR-based techniques to amplify hundreds to thousands of genomic loci with high specificity and uniformity, according to the company. More specifically, the company said that the platform "improves sample uniformity for less oversampling and efficient utilization of sequencer capacity" and "reduces selection bias for decreased complexity and greater integrity of results."
RainDance already has a few European collaborations in place, primarily in Germany. For instance, Germany's Atlas Biolabs became RainDance's first European service provider in May 2009.
In addition, Hilger Ropers' lab at the Max Planck Institute is a RainDance customer and has worked with the company to develop a panel to screen children with X-chromosome-linked disorders, Lussier said. The panel uses Roche 454’s FLX and Illumina’s GAII sequencing platforms in combination with RainDance’s sequence enrichment technologies.
Lussier added that RainDance will be making a number of announcements highlighting new customers and global partners in Europe and Asia Pacific as part of the company's global expansion over the next several months.
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