Fluidigm and IntegraGen partner to create a genetic analysis service embedded in a France-based demonstration facili

Fluidigm, the inventor of integrated fluidic circuits (IFCs), has joined with IntegraGen SA, a leading provider of genetic research testing services, to bring IFC technology to European researchers.

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SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—Fluidigm, the inventorof integrated fluidic circuits (IFCs), has joined with IntegraGen SA, a leadingprovider of genetic research testing services, to bring IFC technology toEuropean researchers.
"This fills a void in IntegraGen's services," saysFluidigm company fellow Howard High.
At the same time, he notes, the new facility willprovide Fluidigm with access to the underserved market for its samplepreparation and genetic analysis systems.
"IntegraGen customers who come to thedemonstration lab will see that the workflow is as easy and fast as we say itis," High states.
IntegraGen will offer premium-class services toits customers using the Fluidigm BioMark System for genetic analysis and theAccess Array sample preparation system for next-generation sequencing. IntegraGen'slab will also be a demonstration site for European researchers investigatingFluidigm's technology.
"A commercial operation like the IntegraGendemonstration facility is better for us than an academic lab," Howard Highsays, "so this venture is important. If people haven't experienced thesimplicity of the workflow, it can seem too good to be true."
High expects additional business to result fromthe IntegraGen collaboration. Currently, the company has only a handful ofcustomers in France.
Fluidigm's instrumentation, combined with itsmicrofluidic-based chips, provides high-performance, high-throughput geneexpression, genotyping, digital PCR and sample preparation for next-generationsequencing. The BioMark digital array functions as "the integrated circuit forbiology." Reaction chambers and valves are the size of a pencil dot, whichcontributes directly to the system's stingy use of sample and reagents. TheBioMark system is used for genotyping and PCR, while Access Array provides automatednext-generation tagging and sequencing. Fluidigm's systems includeinstrumentation, software and single-use chips. They operate much like siliconchips do in electronics, says company fellow High, which by changingarchitecture can shift from function to function—gene expression to genotyping,for example.
Fluidigm's latest development, the new 48.770Digital Array, provides the highest density integrated fluidic circuit (IFC)the company offers, generating almost 37,000 individual qPCR reactions andproviding 48 individual sample inlets. The system consists of integratedchannels, chambers, and valves that work by partitioning each sample intohundreds of individual PCR reactions. After the sample and reagent mixtures aretransferred to wells on the input frame, the mixtures are automaticallypressurized into their respective partitioning domains. Up to 48 samples can betested at a time, with each sample being partitioned into 770 individualreactions. Partitioning results in an increase in relative concentration and aconsequent improvement in the detection sensitivity of PCR reactions. Forexample, if a sample contained only one mutated molecule in 100,000,partitioning the sample into 770 separate chambers would isolate the singlemutant molecule in a chamber with only 130 unmutated molecules for a proportionalincrease in the detection sensitivity of PCR reactions.
"With this partnership, researchers will beable to immediately utilize IntegraGen's services based on Fluidigm technologyand enjoy the benefits of integrated fluidic circuits. In addition, Fluidigmwill have a demonstration site for our European customers to observe andunderstand the easy workflow and other unique capabilities of ourtechnology," says Dominique Remy-Renou, Fluidigm's vice president ofEuropean sales and support.
"IntegraGen looks forward to extending itsbusiness in Europe by providing Fluidigm's technology to its customers. Thesetools complete the IntegraGen genetic services portfolio and put our lab at thecutting edge of genotyping and next-generation sequencing capabilities,"says Emmanuel Martin, director of genomic services at IntegraGen. The newdemonstration lab will be "embedded" in the company's genetic servicesfacility, he adds.
IntegraGen's core strategy is to deliver aportfolio of high-value molecular diagnostic products and services that drivepersonalized healthcare solutions for complex diseases such as diabetes,obesity, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia and autism. The genetic servicesbusiness provides genotyping services to the research community. 

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