Genotyping for the masses: Applied Bio launches genotyping service provider program for core labs
Looking to both increase the sales of products in its SNPlex line, as well as help its core lab cusotomers provider a wider suite of services to customers, Applied Biosystems Inc. rolled out a service provider program via selected core labs to bring genotyping services to researchers that do not have access to capillary electrophoresis (CE) genetic analysis systems.
FOSTER CITY, Calif.—Looking to both increase the sales ofproducts in its SNPlex line, as well as help its core lab cusotomers provider awider suite of services to customers, Applied Biosystems Inc. rolled out aservice provider program via selected core labs to bring genotyping services toresearchers that do not have access to capillary electrophoresis (CE) geneticanalysis systems. Dubbed the SNPlex Service Provider Program, the effortalready counts six core labs in the United States, Europe and Chinaas participants in the program.
"We have noticed from the research labs that a lot of themhave started outsourcing, especially some of the more complex projects andassays," says Jennifer Pan, manager of genotyping with Applied Biosystems. "Alot of our core labs already have our DNA sequencing instruments and as anadded application to the CE instruments, SNPlex has been designed to be able togenotype multiplexes up to 48. Some of these labs have adopted the assay andare doing really well."
Customers who might be inclined to use the service,according to Pan, are smaller researcher organizations that have conducted somemicroarray experiments and have identified genes of interest and are nowlooking to do fine mapping of those genes to identify the SNPs they would beinterested in for further study.
"One way to identify those SNPs of interest is to identifyas many as possible and so SNPlex allows them to multiplex these," she adds.
To make the service convenient for researchers worldwide,Applied Biosystems announced six core labs that will be offering the serviceinitially. Providers in the program include: the Chinese National Human Genome Center in China;European labs DNAVision of Belgium; IntegraGen Inc. in France;Medical Solutions Geneservice in the United Kingdom; United States-based labs the University of California at Los Angeles DNASequencing and Genotyping Core Facility, and Vanderbilt University DNASequencing and Genotyping Facility.
These first participants for the SNPlex Service ProiderProgram were essentially hand-picked by Applied Biosystems. "We selected this particular starting set oflabs because they were highly proficient in the technology and had a lot ofexperience in running it," says Phoebe White, senior director of genotypingapplications with Applied Biosystems. "We wanted to support them and drivebusiness through their labs by developing a more concrete relationship with ABand that lab, which we think allows them to have a stronger value propositionfor their customers."
Applied Biosystems will support the core labs in the programvia marketing support and technical assistance, which should help the labsreach the sweet spot of the market—researchers whose company resources or whosescope of work won't justify the significant expense involved to set up a CElab.
"It's not always practical for a researcher to set up ahigh-throughput assay in their laboratory if the methods are not the main focusof their work," says Dr. Jeanette Papp, director of GenoSeq Core and member ofthe program. "GenoSeq Core has the requirements for these experiments in place,including the instrumentation, necessary robotics, bioinformatics, and mostimportantly, the expertise. This program is another way for us to provide highquality SNP genotyping services to our customers, broaden access to genotypingplatforms, and enable them to accelerate their research and business."
The program, however, also highlights work that AppliedBiosystems has done over the past couple of years to better understand what thecompany can do to help their core lab customers.
"We've had a committee working for a couple of years to lookat issues with labs and how we can help them in their businesses," says Pan."This program is a result of some of things we've learned and the work we'vedone with the committee."