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A multiplex menu
September 2012
by Lloyd Dunlap  |  Email the author


HERCULES, Calif.Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc., a multinational manufacturer and distributor of life-science research and clinical diagnostic products, and Myriad RBM Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Myriad Genetics Inc., will join forces to develop and distribute high-quality immunoassay kits.

Under the terms of the agreement, Myriad RBM (the former Rules Based Medicine spun out from Luminex) grants Bio-Rad exclusive distribution rights, for research purposes, to what the companies believe is the largest catalog of quantitative multiplexed immunoassays currently available to run on the Bio-Plex 200, Bio-Plex 3D and Bio-Plex MAGPIX instruments. Myriad RBM retains the rights for all clinical and companion diagnostics uses, but may collaborate with Bio-Rad in these areas down the road.

Myriad RBM's biomarker assays address researchers' needs for multiplex testing of samples with very low volumes when studying toxicology, oncology, immunology and cardiovascular and other diseases. The new assays expand Bio-Rad's current suite of assays. Bio-Rad also provides data reduction and analysis software.

"Together, we are able to add hundreds of new biomarkers for both human and non-human panels to our Bio-Plex multiplex immunoassay system menu," says Brad Crutchfield, Bio-Rad's Life Science Group vice president and group manager. "Moving forward, Myriad RBM and Bio-Rad will collaborate to design new products to meet the evolving requirements of our customers. "

RBM, he notes, brings expertise on how panels are put together and what the panels tell about the function of the cell. The result is "better predictors of how the drug in question will work," he says.

Myriad RBM's Multi Analyte Profiling (MAP) technology (based on Lumniex's xMAP technology) offers preclinical and clinical researchers broad, cost-effective analyses of multiple proteins from a single small sample volume. Myriad RBM's MAP technology also supports the development of companion diagnostics in areas of unmet medical need within the fields of neurology, psychiatry, nephrology, endocrinology, oncology and immunology.

In addition to offering the biggest menu of quantitative multiplexed immunoassay kits, RBM's proprietary diluents, blockers and buffers improve assay performance in complex fluids such as serum and plasma, says Craig Benson, president of Myriad RBM.

"And our kits for the research market are the only ones manufactured under cGMP," states Benson, who is one of four RBM executives that held senior positions at Luminex prior to moving over to RBM. "This agreement combines Myriad RBM's industry-leading menu of multiplexed immunoassays with Bio-Rad's unrivaled global commercial distribution capabilities. Our partnership with Bio-Rad will help researchers and clinicians on the front lines of medicine to develop biomarker profiles that may predict, detect or monitor disease progression in an effort to optimize treatment and improve patient care."

Dr. Sam Labrie, vice president of corporate development, notes that the relationship with Bio-Rad goes back a long way, with the RBM executives having partnered with Bio-Rad during their stint at Luminex. Together, the two companies form one of the most experienced service providers and distribution outlets in terms of the Luminex platform. Currently, Bio-Rad serves more than 100,000 research and industry customers worldwide through its global network of operations. The company employs more than 7,100 people and had revenues exceeding $2 billion in 2011.

With parent company Myriad Genetics embroiled in a long and costly court battle contesting the validity of its BRCA genetic patents (see Government Watch section for an update), RBM's Benson is asked if he expected the outcome in the courts to affect RBM in terms of any impact on forming new partnerships.

"No," he responds, "but a favorable resolution can't hurt."

Code: E091211



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