Competitors fill void left by CodeLink exit

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Dna

Agilent, Illumina, NimbleGen and Oxford Gene Technology have
stepped into the breach caused by GE Healthcare's decision to scrap
its CodeLink arrays.

Following GE's decision in December 2006 to discontinue their CodeLink array platform, several of their competitors are offering to provide alternatives with support to aid the transition.

According to a spokesperson for GE, the decision to scrap the arrays was regrettable but that part of the business was not profitable enough to maintain.

In a previous statement to LabTechnologist.com, GE Healthcare public relations manager Brian McKaig said: "Following a detailed business review, GE Healthcare has decided to discontinue its CodeLink microarray product line. GE Healthcare will cease production of CodeLink microarrays in April 2007, and will work to support customers' transition to alternative systems."

NimbleGen, historically a service business that ran assays for customers, has recently licensed technology from Affymetrix and Oxford Gene Technology to allow them to sell their own array products and our looking to boost their market share by providing solutions to former CodeLink users.

According to Dan Clutter, NimbleGen's vice president of sales: "Our biggest advantage is flexibility; we can map oligomers of any length using our isotherm probes which have a range of 45-85mers, with an efficiency of greater than 99 per cent."

"NimbleGen is looking to release a new array in the second quarter of 2007 that will boost the number of features on its chips from 38,000 features per array to over two million which will help researchers looking at transcription and especially comparative genomic hybridisation where you need to tile the entire genome uniformly."

Illumina is offering support through its website and states that the two platforms had similar workflow and platforms with both offering single colour assay using a single probe strategy. Both used sample labeling based on Ambion's Message Amp II technology. Crucially, they both achieved very high performance in the FDA-sponsored microarray quality control (MAQC) study with the Illumina system needing less material for study than other major competitors.

A spokesperson for Illumina told LabTechnologist.com: "we are mapping code sequences from CodeLink to our platforms, so that customers will be able to work out the differences between the two."

"We are able to offer our very high quality product at between half to a third of the price - depending on volume discounts."

Erik Bjeldanes, Agilent's gene expression applications product manager, told LabTechnologist.com: "Agilent has a microarray offering that is very analogous in workflow and format, both using a one by three inch slide format and use similar scanners, many of CodeLink's customers used either Agilent or Axon scanners."

"The workflows are generally analogous, with maybe a few minor changes to accessories."

"We are just starting a special offer to CodeLink customers and have information at our opengenomics website to help. We are actively working with CodeLink customers to help them and they have been very happy so far with us. We are happy to help any CodeLink customers that come our way."

Oxford Gene Technology also expects to be able to help former customers, Dr Mike Evans, Oxford Gene Technology CEO, told LabTechnologist.com: "we expect to come across people who have the challenge of moving away from the CodeLink system and we can help them to do this."

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