The 7500 Fast Real-Time PCR System is the third PCR system introduced by the company in recent months, strengthening its grip on the thermal cycler market of which it has a significant presence. Applied Biosystem's 7900HT Fast Real-Time PCR System and the 9800 Fast PCR System were introduced in October 2004.
Having notched up sales worth $252 million (€193 million) in 2001, the US and European market for real-time thermal cyclers is set to fetch combined revenues of $776 million by 2006, according to data from Frost & Sullivan.
They have suggested that the rising popularity of microarrays in the US and European life science market acts as a complementary driver for real-time thermal cyclers, for example in the validation of microarray results using real-time PCR.
"Because the system employs 96-well format plates, it can easily be integrated into existing laboratory workflows and provides a competitive advantage over other Fast PCR systems that use non-standard formats such as glass capillaries or proprietary tubes," said Carl Hull, vice president and general manager, real-time PCR systems and microarrays for Applied Biosystems.
Conventional methods require approximately two hours to carry out 30 amplification 'cycles'. Designed for scientists performing basic research, the system enables "faster run time to more easily share the system in multi-user environments, enabling greater productivity."
The system incorporates various applications including the ability to measure changes in gene expression, detect and quantitate pathogens, and perform allelic discrimination (SNP genotyping) assays. Confirmation of the presence or absence of transgenes and other target sequences is also possible.
Thermal cyclers are standard equipment in any laboratory using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technologies to look at gene expression. They tend to be used by pharmaceutical companies looking at gene expression in response to drug treatment and to compare normal and diseased tissues to hunt for disease associated gene sequences.