Agilent expands DNA microarray service provider network

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Dna microarray Dna Agilent

Agilent has expanded its service provider network allowing greater
worldwide-access to certified genomics research capabilities.

The expansion includes the addition of Empire Genomics, USA, and Welgene Biotech, Taiwan, as well as the re-certification of the Exonhit Therapeutics, France. The certification system aims to maximise the quality, reproducibility and reliability of data generated using the array technology.

The use of DNA microarray technologies in health research has been growing fast since Affymetrix released the first commercial microarray in 1994. Stuart Matlow, Life Sciences & Chemical Analysis PR for Agilent, told that he believes that the DNA microarray sector has grown approximately 12 per cent in 2006.

The network aims to provide comprehensive worldwide access to certified microarray techniques now comprises of nine companies around the world, including: Cogenics, US; CXR Biosciences, Scotland; Exonhit Therapeutics, France; Empire Genomics, USA; Institut Gustave-Roussy, France; Miltenyi Biotec, Germany; Mogene, US; University Health Network (UHN) Microarray centre, Canada and Welgene Biotech, Taiwan.

Matlow said: "Support of all our customers is a very big part of what we do - we try to offer the complete package."

The main application of DNA microarrays is typically in gene expression - determining which genes are switched on or off; however Matlow believes that growth in this area is tailing off. There is however a new generation of smaller applications that show rapid growth, such as comprehensive genomic hybridisation (CGH); a method of identifying and mapping DNA sequence differences between normal and tumour cells.

These new techniques often need specific arrays to be designed that are uneconomical to produce using common lithographic manufacturing techniques. Agilent's unique SurePrint system uses an inkjet-like process to deposit protein strands directly onto the slide allowing the cheaper production of small numbers of specific arrays.

Matlow said: "With our SurePrint system it's now feasible to make a small number of slides to suit our customers specific needs."

The high costs of the lithography process and the highly competitive nature of the market has caused GE healthcare to scrap their Codelink arrays​ with production ceasing in 2007, leading to the planned closure of their array-production facility in Tempe, USA.

Related topics Preclinical Research Preclinical

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