Giving it away for free

NimbleGen to distribute DNASTAR software

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MADISON, Wis.—In an extension of a two-year arrangement to distribute DNASTAR's prototype version of its ArrayStar software, NimbleGen has signed on to provide a free, 30-day trial of the updated version 2.0 software to its customers when they receive chip data or product from NimbleGen.

According to Steve Smith, vice president of bioinformatics at NimbleGen, it's important to "get customers into their data" as quickly as possible in the rapidly expanding microarray market. ArrayStar does this, he notes, and will be the only gene expression software supplied by NimbleGen. In fact, the new ArrayStar software is the first commercial software product specifically designed to import NimbleGen microarray data files and Smith considers it a key to the company maintaining its overall 100 percent annual growth objective. Target areas, he says, are comparative genomic hybridization, variant analyses, methylation, and chip-on-chip technology.

The new software is designed to permit microarray users to quickly and easily determine gene expression levels, gene relationships and class discoveries.  Its visualization capabilities include heat maps and k-means clustering.

Robert Steinhauser, director of marketing at DNASTAR, notes that it was necessary to adapt the software to accommodate NimbleGen's unique file structures. "The initial agreement with NimbleGen provided ArrayStar software only to customers who bought microarray services from NimbleGen.  Now, via the expanded relationship," he adds, "the customized software will be provided to customers who purchase microarray products as well."

In addition, Steinhauser notes, in late June, DNASTAR's microarray data analysis software was designated compatible with the Affymetrix GeneChip microarray platform. Compatibility with industry-leader Affymetrix's program is considered important by Steinhauser to counter any notion that the NimbleGen deal is typical, i.e., DNASTAR's software has to be specially adapted for each user.

Summing up, Steve Smith, adds, "ArrayStar v 2.0 is a significant upgrade from the previous version. We are excited to get this new release into the hands of our expression customers, and we are sure that they will be pleased with the product."

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