Molecular Devices snaps up Genetix

Genetix products are cited as key to the transaction

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SUNNYVALE,Calif.—Molecular Devices, a provider of instruments, software and consumablesfor drug discovery and life sciences research, has announced that the drugdiscovery division of Genetix will join Molecular Devices.
Acknowledgingthat research in pharma and biotech is shifting toward biotherapeutic drugs(antibodies, proteins and vaccines), Molecular Devices picked up two key productsfrom Genetix, the ClonePix and QPix instrument platforms, which address celllines used in biotherapeutic research. Today's bottleneck in the race to newdiscoveries in life science research is cell-based analysis, the company stateson its website. Drug discovery research is hampered by the extended time andexpense required to culture sufficient cells prior to analysis. There is a lackof ready access to cellular analysis systems, creating a delay in receivingreliable results and analyses from outsourced testing. 
To counter thissituation, Molecular Devices can now offer ClonePix, an automated mammaliancell selection platform that significantly expedites the process of identifyingand selecting cells that produce biotherapeutic candidates, reducing both timeand cost. Systems based on ClonePix technology are now used in more than 100laboratories around the world to increase workflow productivity, leaving moretime to better characterize target proteins and run new projects.
According toMolecular Devices, companies such as GSK, Merck, Wyeth, Genentech, Centocor,MedImmune, UCB and Genmab have implemented ClonePix systems, and data are citedincreasingly in scientific conferences. Automatically screening more clones inless time than conventional techniques, selecting cells with optimal expressionlevels and picking colonies with accuracy enables scientists to increase theprobability of finding optimal producers, cut cell line/antibody developmenttimes, avoid limiting dilution and reject poor performers at an early stagebased on expression levels in situ.
The second keyproduct—QPix colony pickers—is used worldwide in over 600 installations inresearch institutes, sequencing facilities, biotech and pharmaceuticalcompanies, the company states, adding that its reputation for reliability andaccuracy was established during the Human Genome Project, in which six out ofseven major sequencing centers standardized on QPix colony pickers.
In addition, theCloneSelect Imager and CellReporter from Genetix will extend Molecular Devices'imaging portfolio. These products offer a good value for a budget-conscious enduser, the news release announcing the acquisition stated.
Withhigh-quality imaging and intelligent image analysis, CloneSelect Imagerreplaces time-consuming, subjective manual inspections with consistency andobjectivity. Cell growth is viewed and tracked in every well in every plate.
The CellReportersystem produces accurate, quantitative data for a wide range of applicationsutilizing fluorescent cell- and bead-based assays. Intuitive workflows providefull flexibility to optimize and standardize assays from the first imageacquisition step through to data analysis and reporting. Typical applicationsinclude bead-based assays for hybridoma screening, quantifying antibodyproduction and secretion of cytokines or hormones and cell-based assays forcell cycle analysis, cytotoxicity studies or monitoring protein translocation.
Commenting onthe acquisition, Mark Verheyden, president of Molecular Devices, says, "We areexcited about welcoming Genetix into the Molecular Devices team, knowing thatthe combined business will be better positioned to serve our customers. Ourinstruments offer a full spectrum of detection technologies and meet allthroughput needs—from dedicated, single-readout devices to multi-readoutsystems. Our goal is to deliver highly relevant analytical products to detectbiology, decode data and drive discovery."

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