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96 samples across 92 proteins in one microfluidic run
September 2013
by Lloyd Dunlap  |  Email the author


SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.Fluidigm Corp. and Olink Bioscience will bring together Olink's protein detection assays and the high-throughput, high-reproducibility and high-sensitivity platform of Fluidigm's real-time PCR system. The result will be the ability to interrogate 96 samples across 92 proteins in a single run from one microliter of sample in less than a day.  
Key to establishing the new relationship was Olink's unique proximity elongation assay technology, says Howard Hill, Fluidigm fellow, corporate communications and press relations. He explains: "The Olink technology uses pairs of antibodies attached to unique DNA sequences to detect proteins of interest. When the antibodies bind their targets, the attached DNA strands are brought into proximity and ligate, forming a new DNA amplicon that can then be quantified using real-time PCR. Since Fluidigm uses PCR as the base of its technology, this Olink assay approach allows customers to tap into the benefits of Fluidigm technology to explore proteins. This approach also eliminated the common immunoassay problem of antibody cross-reactivity."  
Fluidigm was aware of, and had met with, Simon Fredriksson, Olink's president and CEO, when he was still a student at Stanford University, according to Hill.  
"It was the compatibility of the two companies' technologies that was the driving force for us to work together and solve some issues that were problematic for protein researchers," he says.  
"Analyzing 92 proteins from one microliter of sample enables new biomarker discovery and validation," says Gajus Worthington, Fluidigm's president and CEO. "Many sample sources, including those from biorepositories or model organisms, are limited, and researchers can simply run out before they are able to find useful biomarker panels. The combination of Fluidigm's and Olink's technology represents a robust new tool for the protein research community."  
"Our offerings tend to center around our ability to control the flow of microscopic amounts of fluids using our NanoFlex valves, and integrate a variety of work steps in our various integrated fluidic circuits," adds Hill. "This has allowed us to provide solutions for life-science researchers that are faster, better, cheaper and easier to use. It has also allowed scientists to do things that weren't possible (or practical) using traditional technologies. One of the key developments of this effort has been the growing interest in single-cell genomics and the realization that you must operate at the scale of the biology if you are going to be effective analyzing single cells. Fluidigm is the leader in this space as the growth in this sector has driven the company's growth over the past several years."  
A recent DeciBio research report predicts that the single-cell genomics market will grow at a CAGR of 39 percent between now and 2018, Hill notes.   "Now with our co-marketing agreement with Olink, we can use our technology to also service protein researchers," he says.  
Asked to compare the newly paired Fluidigm-Olink technology to others available, Hill flatly states, "we have the best platform available to quantify many DNA sequences with high throughput, precision and good data quality. The Olink kit requires only 1 μL of sample while, by way of comparison, Myriad RBM's discovery assays require between 50 μL and 750 μL of sample, depending on the panel. My understanding is that besides using much more sample, the number of protein samples that were typically explored at a time was between two and 10, while the Olink-Fluidigm configuration will analyze 96 human samples at a time against a panel of 92 analytes, such as growth factors, inflammatory markers, soluble receptors or cancer antigens. With the addition of four control analytes (two incubation controls, and extension and detection controls), researchers can now obtain results for up to 9,216 reactions in just a few hours."  
The first 92-plex Olink panel, available now, is focused on biomarker discovery for cancer. Panels addressing cardiovascular disease and inflammation are expected to be offered later this year.  
Code: E091316



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