NuGEN’s sample prep to be integrated with WaferGen’s analytical workflow

The two companies will co-develop integrated workflows using NuGEN’s SPIA products and WaferGen’s SmartChip system

Lloyd Dunlap
SAN CARLOS, Calif.—WaferGen Biosystems Inc., a developer ofgenomic analysis systems, and NuGEN Technologies Inc., which specializes ingenomic sample preparation, will co-develop and co-market "simple, seamlesslyintegrated workflows for gene expression profiling and target enrichment toenable researchers to more easily achieve high-throughput, high-densityreal-time PCR with small, degraded and hard-to replace clinical specimens, suchas formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissue (FFPE)."
 
NuGEN CEO Elizabeth Hutt supports this claim by noting, "Thefirst stage of the co-development effort is focused on generating validationdata demonstrating the system integration between the two companies' commercialproducts. We will use NuGEN's unique single primer isothermal amplificationsystems designed for challenging clinical samples such as the total RNAsisolated from small biopsies or FFPE up front of WaferGen's highly parallelqPCR analysis SmartChip platform." The work will be shared between the two teams,she adds.
 
NuGEN had been aware of WaferGen's offering for some time byindustry reputation in addition to mutual customers and advisors, Hutt says.
 
"I had the opportunity to meet WaferGen CEO Alnoor Shivji acouple of months ago, and we recognized that the two companies have beenindependently working towards the same end goal of simplifying customers'workflow for highly parallel genomic analysis, and we can generate a great dealof synergy by working more closely together. We quickly brought our two teamstogether and are looking forward to generating results from the co-developmentefforts," she states.
 
 
Under the collaborative relationship, the two companies willconduct joint product development projects to construct validated workflowswith both NuGEN's proprietary sample preparation and isothermal linearamplification (SPIA) products and the WaferGen SmartChip Real-Time PCR System.The projects will focus on solutions for sample preparation, pre-amplificationand nucleic acid detection for gene expression and target enrichment fromvarious sample types to drive speed and simplicity.
 
"By combining the expertise of both companies, we can offera simple and straightforward workflow solution for single cell analysis,archival tissues and next-generation sequencing, addressing the needs ofcustomers with precious nucleic acid samples who wish to performhigh-throughput, high-density real-time PCR," says Shivji. "This will expandthe market potential of our SmartChip System by offering ready-to-go applicationsfor biomarker discovery, validation and screening."
 
NuGEN's unique sample preparation solution, integrated withWaferGen's SmartChip System, is clearly synergistic, says Hutt.
 
 
"Our expertise in solving the challenges associated withclinical samples, such as formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues or fineneedle aspirates, will be leveraged in a simple workflow from sample toanalysis, expediting disease research and clinical applications," she says. "Wesee synergies between the two companies to address certain sequencingbottlenecks, such as targeted sequence enrichment."
 
Detailed work plans will need to be worked out todemonstrate the feasibility, Hutt adds. The first phase of the co-developmentproject will reveal how well the two teams work together. There are a lot ofsynergies, and novel ideas may arise during the initial phase as they work tobetter understand each other's capabilities and platform potential.
 
 
"We will thoroughly explore the technical expertise of bothcompanies as the collaboration progresses." Hutt says, adding that it ispossible, but not likely, that modifications will be needed in NuGEN's sampleprep technology. "We will make that determination after the technical teamsproduce some early development data," she says. NuGEN's systems are alreadycompatible with a range of downstream qPCR analysis methods, and Hutt says shehopes the WaferGen SmartChip system will be a ready-made plug-in.

Lloyd Dunlap

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