Dovetailing into diagnostics

PerkinElmer acquires chemagen Biopolymer-Technologie, the company’s partner for nucleic acid analysis, in effort to better serve the MDx market

March 7, 2011
Amy Swinderman
BAESWEILER, Germany—Encouraged by customer response to thecompanies' longstanding partnership on nucleic acid analysis, PerkinElmer Inc.(PKI) and chemagen Biopolymer-Technologie AG have made their relationship morepermanent with the Feb. 14 announcement that PKI will acquire the German providerof automated nucleic acid isolation for an undisclosed sum.
 
 
Having worked with chemagen for several years to provideautomated liquid handling platforms with DNA preparation capabilities, PKIbelieves the addition of chemagen's complementary products to its portfoliowill provide the company with robust platforms and solutions to meet the needsof the rapidly evolving molecular diagnostics market.
 
"Chemagen's systems dovetail directly with our automationand liquid handling products," says Dr. Daniel R. Marshak, PKI's chiefscientific officer and president of emerging diagnostics. "We believed that theongoing cooperation with chemagen was excellent, and the response fromcustomers on the chemagen technology was also outstanding. We are delighted thatchemagen management felt that working with PKI in this way was in their bestinterests as well."
 
Founded in December 1997, chemagen's products include itsM-PVA Magnetic Bead technology, which facilitates the purification of DNA, RNAor viral DNA/RNA; the chemagic MSM I, which enables the automated separation ofnucleic acids from sample volumes between 10 μl 10 ml; kits for isolation andpurification of nucleic acids from blood, serum/plasma, tissue, saliva, buccalswabs, amniotic fluid and feces; and the chemagic Prepito, a benchtop walk-awayinstrument relying upon the proven separation technology for up to 1000 μlsample material and 1 to 12 samples in parallel.
 
PKI's Multi-Probe and Janus liquid handling systems can beintegrated with chemagen's magnetic preparation system as a "front-end" topolymerase chain reaction (PCR) or other nucleic acid analysis. As PKI isstarting to do more nucleic acids analysis in other parts of its business—someof which is service and some of which is product—nucleic acid preparation is anecessary upfront for all of these products and services, Marshak says.
 
Currently, PKI serves the molecular diagnostics market withservices though its Signature Genomics diagnostic genetic testing division,both in pre/post-natal and now oncology; DNA sequencing services, which Marshaksays "do not address the clinical market at this time, but the entire field ismoving in that direction"; BACs-on-Beads and aCGH products; and the company'sposition in immunodiagnostics.
 
"As we start doing more nucleic acid analysis, preparationof the nucleic acids from diverse sources is very important," he says. "It isthe platform for moving forward in that space."
 
 
According to Marshak, PKI will keep chemagen's employees andfacilities in Baesweiler, Germany intact.
 
"This is a great team and we are pleased to add them to thePKI family," he says. "We have significant operations in Germany already, soPKI is very experienced doing R&D, manufacturing, sales and otheractivities from a base in Germany."
 
 
chemagen's scientific foundations were laid at the RWTHTechnical University of Aachen. In July 2009, chemagen founded a United Statessubsidiary in Worchester, Mass. The company did not respond to interviewrequests by press time.
 



 
PerkinElmer licenses NGS software from Geospiza
 
WALTHAM, Mass.—PerkinElmer Inc. also announced last monththat it has signed a multiyear license agreement for Geospiza Inc.'s GeneSifterLab Edition and GeneSifter Analysis Edition software products.
 
GeneSifter Lab Edition is used by laboratories around theglobe to track sample processing and deliver data back to researchers foranalysis. GeneSifter Analysis Edition is used by researchers to analyzenext-generation sequencing data and to discover the actionable knowledge withintheir experiments.
 
 
Dick Begley, PerkinElmer's president of EmergingTechnologies, says GeneSifter fit the company's need for a robust and scalablelab workflow and analysis system.
 
"DNA is a core focus for PerkinElmer, and GeneSifter has themost comprehensive software platform out there," Begley says. "Geospiza has ademonstrated track record of helping researchers successfully manage thecomplexities of next-gen sequencing operations."
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