The array – named Xcel – was built using Affmetrix’ GeneChip and contains 97,000 transcripts including antisense, non-coding transcripts and content derived from high quality sequence data, as well as public gene expression and sequence databases.
The idea is that customers can use the technology for the discovery and development of biomarkers from formalin fixed paraffin embedded tissue, which can be used to identify potential drug discovery opportunities in personalised medicines.
Kevin Cannon, expression business lead at Affymetrix, said: “Researchers now have the ability to carry out retrospective studies for discovery and validation of gene expression biomarkers and translate them into clinical practices.”
Michael Sloan, VP of business development at Almac’s diagnostics unit, stressed the array's benefits for research.
“The Xcel array has proven to be extremely useful in our hands for biomarker discovery both for our in-house R&D and for our clients. This distribution deal with Affymetrix will enable more researchers to see the benefit of the platform.”
Almac has been offering biomarker services since 2010, arguing the benefits of this type of drug development can increase the likelihood that candidate drugs will be successfully brought to market.
The other part of the firm’s biomarker business is centred on the increasing number of companies looking at developing companion diagnostics.