PerkinElmer, Agena Bioscience embark on technology collaboration

The companies will work to incorporate PerkinElmer's LabChip GX Touch into Agena's MassARRAY system

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SAN DIEGO—A new workflow is in the works as a collaboration between PerkinElmer and Agena Bioscience—a San Diego-based company that develops, manufactures and supplies genetic analysis systems and reagents—gets underway. The companies have teamed up to incorporate PerkinElmer's LabChip GX Touch nucleic acid analyzer, which enables quality assessment and quantitation of DNA, into Agena's MassARRAY system, which the company says “combines mass spectrometry, sensitive and robust chemistry and advanced data analysis software” to aid genomics labs with assay design, validation and performance. The target for this combination is circulating tumor DNA in oncology liquid biopsy, where it is hoped that the incorporated system could provide a low-cost, single-day sample-to-result workflow. No financial details were disclosed.
“Controlling pre-analytical variables is an important component of delivering robust reproducible liquid biopsy analysis. The combination of LabChip GX Touch nucleic acid analyzer’s sample qualification with UltraSEEK assay’s highly sensitive, multiplexed chemistry delivers a powerful liquid biopsy sample-to-result solution” Darryl Irwin, senior director of Scientific Affairs at Agena Bioscience, said in a press release. “We believe this collaboration will provide many benefits to customers by optimizing their liquid biopsy performance”.
To get a bit more technical, Agena's MassARRAY system “is a non-fluorescent detection platform utilizing mass spectrometry to accurately measure PCR-derived amplicons.” The Chip prep module enables automated post-PCR sample processing, and is compatible with Agena's MassARRAY 96-format System. The company's UltraSEEK chemistry offers extremely sensitive somatic mutation profiling and “enables screening for low abundance somatic mutations in heterogeneous tumor and blood samples at less than 1 percent frequency, and as low as 0.1 percent,” as per Agena's website.
As for PerkinElmer's technology, the LabChip GX Touch offers users “accurate electrophoretic visual quality assessment and quantitation down to 25 pg/µl for DNA in as little as 30 seconds, with flexible sample throughput options including 96-well and 384-well, according to an Agena press release. PerkinElmer notes on its website that the system can perform DNA and RNA quantitation and sizing in seconds, thanks to automated capillary electrophoresis separation, and adds that this technology is ideal for work such as next-generation sequencing library preparation; agarose gel workflows; quantitation and qualification for CRISPR fragment analysis; and RNA and DNA fragment analysis, including cell-free DNA, liquid biopsy, PCR-free and formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded samples. The technology will enable a streamlined, upfront process when combined with Agena's 96- and 384-chip systems and its UltraSEEK chemistry. Agena's Scientific Affairs team tested the LabChip system and found that it guaranteed sufficient DNA was in samples to reach UltraSEEK's capabilities and also pinpointed samples that had been compromised by pre-analytical variables.
“The LabChip GX Touch system gives our customers a new option to analyze DNA quality that is consistent with the overall value proposition that we offer,” said Mickie Henshall, Agena's vice president of Marketing. “We look forward to working with PerkinElmer to provide this comprehensive solution with our cost-effective and rapid workflows.”
“We found the speed of Agena’s MassARRAY workflow and the sensitivity of their UltraSEEK liquid biopsy assay to be an ideal pairing with the rapid quality assessment using our LabChip GX Touch system,” added Mark Dupal, PerkinElmer’s global portfolio manager of Automation and Microfluidics, Applied Genomics.
This collaboration comes just over a month after another deal centered on Agena's MassARRAY system. On July 10, Agena shared news of a commercial partnership agreement with Zhejiang Dian Diagnostics Co. Ltd. (Dian), under which the latter will promote and broadly commercialize the MassARRAY system and DNA testing applications and products throughout their laboratory network in China. Dian is one of the largest independent medical laboratories providers in China.

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