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Dovetailing into diagnostics
March 2011
by Amy Swinderman  |  Email the author


BAESWEILER, Germany—Encouraged by customer response to the companies' longstanding partnership on nucleic acid analysis, PerkinElmer Inc. (PKI) and chemagen Biopolymer-Technologie AG have made their relationship more permanent with the Feb. 14 announcement that PKI will acquire the German provider of automated nucleic acid isolation for an undisclosed sum.  
Having worked with chemagen for several years to provide automated liquid handling platforms with DNA preparation capabilities, PKI believes the addition of chemagen's complementary products to its portfolio will provide the company with robust platforms and solutions to meet the needs of the rapidly evolving molecular diagnostics market.
"Chemagen's systems dovetail directly with our automation and liquid handling products," says Dr. Daniel R. Marshak, PKI's chief scientific officer and president of emerging diagnostics. "We believed that the ongoing cooperation with chemagen was excellent, and the response from customers on the chemagen technology was also outstanding. We are delighted that chemagen management felt that working with PKI in this way was in their best interests as well. "
Founded in December 1997, chemagen's products include its M-PVA Magnetic Bead technology, which facilitates the purification of DNA, RNA or viral DNA/RNA; the chemagic MSM I, which enables the automated separation of nucleic acids from sample volumes between 10 μl 10 ml; kits for isolation and purification of nucleic acids from blood, serum/plasma, tissue, saliva, buccal swabs, amniotic fluid and feces; and the chemagic Prepito, a benchtop walk-away instrument relying upon the proven separation technology for up to 1000 μl sample material and 1 to 12 samples in parallel.
PKI's Multi-Probe and Janus liquid handling systems can be integrated with chemagen's magnetic preparation system as a "front-end" to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or other nucleic acid analysis. As PKI is starting to do more nucleic acids analysis in other parts of its business—some of which is service and some of which is product—nucleic acid preparation is a necessary upfront for all of these products and services, Marshak says.
Currently, PKI serves the molecular diagnostics market with services though its Signature Genomics diagnostic genetic testing division, both in pre/post-natal and now oncology; DNA sequencing services, which Marshak says "do not address the clinical market at this time, but the entire field is moving in that direction"; BACs-on-Beads and aCGH products; and the company's position in immunodiagnostics.
"As we start doing more nucleic acid analysis, preparation of the nucleic acids from diverse sources is very important," he says. "It is the platform for moving forward in that space."  
According to Marshak, PKI will keep chemagen's employees and facilities in Baesweiler, Germany intact.
"This is a great team and we are pleased to add them to the PKI family," he says. "We have significant operations in Germany already, so PKI is very experienced doing R&D, manufacturing, sales and other activities from a base in Germany."  
chemagen's scientific foundations were laid at the RWTH Technical University of Aachen. In July 2009, chemagen founded a United States subsidiary in Worchester, Mass. The company did not respond to interview requests by press time.

PerkinElmer licenses NGS software from Geospiza
WALTHAM, Mass.—PerkinElmer Inc. also announced last month that it has signed a multiyear license agreement for Geospiza Inc.'s GeneSifter Lab Edition and GeneSifter Analysis Edition software products.
GeneSifter Lab Edition is used by laboratories around the globe to track sample processing and deliver data back to researchers for analysis. GeneSifter Analysis Edition is used by researchers to analyze next-generation sequencing data and to discover the actionable knowledge within their experiments.  
Dick Begley, PerkinElmer's president of Emerging Technologies, says GeneSifter fit the company's need for a robust and scalable lab workflow and analysis system.
"DNA is a core focus for PerkinElmer, and GeneSifter has the most comprehensive software platform out there," Begley says. "Geospiza has a demonstrated track record of helping researchers successfully manage the complexities of next-gen sequencing operations."
Code: E031114



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