GAITHERSBURG, Md.—Unwilling to simply sit on its laurels and coast along with what is reportedly the world's largest commercial gene expression reference database, GeneLogic recently introduced its Microarray Data Generation and Analysis Services. This new offering can produce gene expression data for customers from biological samples—tissue, cells, blood, and RNA—provided by those customers.
Potential clients include pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostic and government researchers—particularly those individuals and organizations that are among the growing ranks who wish to outsource microarray data generation and analysis, according to Dennis Rossi, senior VP and general manager.
"As the microarray technology itself continues to miniaturize and change, it requires continual investment in capital and training, something most of our customers don't have the means or time to do," adds Dean Keser, GeneLogic's vice president of genomics operations. "With services like ours out there, they don't have to make these painful investments. We can do it and they don't need it as a core capability."
Clients would use the new services in several aspects of drug discovery, such as identifying drug targets and biomarkers, assessing the toxicity of drugs, and prioritizing existing compounds in their pipelines. Although GeneLogic just announced the services in early March, they aren't exactly new.
"We've been doing this service on an ad-hoc basis for three or four years. We've just never launched it as a formal business opportunity," Keser says. "But with new demand and repeat requests from previous customers who asked for this kind of help, it became clear this is a customer-driven opportunity we just couldn't ignore."
"Our customers use these microarray services in a variety of ways, everything from drug discovery and development to getting a better understanding of toxicological effects—even creating their own diagnostic tools. So, we're covering a wide range of pharmaceutical industry requirements. There's plenty of opportunity out there, and that has us very excited. Frankly, I wish we had formalized these services sooner."
GeneLogic enjoys several tactical advantages over competitors, according to Dr. Maryellen de Mars, senior director, biorepository, and product manager. Among them are the company's laser capture microdissection capabilities and its proprietary blood protocol.
"Then, if you look at our run-through, we have 40,000 samples published in our database representing more than 200 tissue types, which gives us 150,000 arrays for different species," de Mars says. "With bioinformatics, there are a lot of gene expressions that come out, and a great deal of information that has to be analyzed. We have the algorithms and the database to help customers make sense out of those data and put them into useful contexts."