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Azco Biotech Becomes Value-Added Reseller for Dover/Church Polonator

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An earlier version of this article was published June 4.

Life-sciences laboratory equipment and reagent vendor Azco Biotech has become a reseller of Dover's Polonator sequencing platform and will provide reagents and services for the instrument, In Sequence has learned.

The Polonator was developed by scientists and engineers in George Church's lab at Harvard Medical School in collaboration with Dover, a Danaher Motion company. Dover recently started selling an upgraded version of the instrument for $170,000 (see In Sequence 5/5/2009).

According to Kevin McCarthy, Dover's chief technology officer, Azco approached the company several months ago, and the two recently signed a value-added reseller agreement for North America.

"We … look forward to working with them as we continue our Polonator rollout," McCarthy told In Sequence by e-mail.

Azco promises to add value to the platform by providing a "turn-key" solution to users, according to J Adams, Azco's president.

The company will provide pre- and post-sales support, start-up reagents, applications support, on-site installation, user training, on-site warranty support, and ongoing technical support — "everything scientists expect today to get with a scientific instrument," Adams told In Sequence by e-mail.

In addition, he said, the company is redesigning the software to provide a more intuitive user interface, and has hired applications and R&D scientists to develop additional applications and "lower-cost, more efficient" reagents.

Azco is also working with scientists at the Church lab "to bring to market the new and exciting technologies they are working on with the Polonator as a genetic analysis platform."

The added services mean that the price of the instrument will be higher than the $170,000 Dover is selling the Polonator for, but still significantly less expensive than other second-generation sequencing platforms, according to Adams.

"The price is set to cover our costs and still maintain [Church's] vision of a solution that every laboratory can afford," he said.

Dover will continue to sell the instrument "to a select group of innovators that can develop applications and need no additional support," Adams said. "Azco will take all of the rest of the prospective customers that are looking for a 'turn-key' solution."

On its website, Azco calls the platform the "Polonator Genome Analyzer" and states that it plans to launch it on July 1. Reagent kits, which are currently not available for the instrument, will also be available as of that date, according to the website.

Founded in 2003, Azco Biotech sells a variety of life-sciences instruments and reagents, including DNA sequencers, DNA synthesizers, real-time PCR instruments, thermocyclers, and mass spectrometers. In addition, it offers a variety of reagents and services for these platforms.

The Polonator is currently the only second-generation sequencing platform the company offers. Azco also sells refurbished Sanger sequencers — mostly Applied Biosystems capillary sequencers (see In Sequence 3/25/2008)
— and provides consumables and services for them.

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