Sifting through genes

Eurofins MWG Operon selects Geospiza's GeneSifter to automate DNA sequencing data analysis

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SEATTLE—Eurofins MWG Operon, a worldwide provider of DNA sequencing services, DNA synthesis products and bioinformatic services, has selected Geospiza's GeneSifter Lab Edition software to manage its DNA sequencing systems in order to enhance its customer experience.

Just over a year ago, Operon Biotechnologies, Eurofins MWG and Eurofins Medigenomix agreed to work together to enhance their worldwide capabilities in the competitive custom oligonucleotide market. With about $50 million in revenue and high-throughput production facilities in North America, Europe and Asia, the new network of companies intends to offer the market a highly competitive level of performance and efficiency in the custom DNA service area.

In announcing the alliance, Patrick Weiss, former managing director of Operon Biotechnologies Inc. and CEO of Eurofins Genomics, notes, "Over the past 10 years overcapacity in the market has put a lot of pressure on all custom oligonucleotide synthesis service suppliers. Prices have decreased to a level where very few companies are able to keep up with the level of investment and innovation needed to meet the market demand for lower cost and higher quality of products and services. By joining the expertise, the resources and the experience of two major players in the field, we are convinced that we can take the next quantum leap which our customers expect from us."

Taking up the theme, Martin Kunz, chief technology officer at Eurofins MWG Operon, adds that Operon is "constantly identifying new and cost effective ways to enhance our services and ensure that our customers have access to the most advanced solutions in the market."

The company concluded that Geospiza's GeneSifter software was the best-in- class product to further automate its systems while delivering the best return on its investment.

"Geospiza's 10 years of experience in lab automation and impressive list of customers gave us the confidence that we could implement the solution rapidly—so that our customers will quickly see the benefits of this investment," Kunz says.

Appropriate for a company that makes GeneSifter software, Geospiza was named after the genus of finches discovered by Darwin in the Galapagos. Unfortunately, notes Todd Smith, founder and CSO of Geospiza, he failed to note which of the islands he collected them from.

"We are excited to work with Eurofins MWG Operon to help them reach their goals for growing their business," says Smith. "Geospiza is committed to delivering our customers innovative products and services to help them achieve exceptional business results."

The Web-based architecture and delivery capabilities of Geospiza's GeneSifter are particularly well suited to support multi-site and multi-national organizations like Eurofins MWG Operon, Smith notes. Designed by biologists, Geospiza's products are configured to work out-of-the-box, so that researchers can focus on their science, he adds.

"We use two models, both designed to meet two challenges faced by researchers," he states. "The first option is a model 'deployed in the clouds' via subscription. Or if the customer chooses, they can host the system." This option is chosen most frequently by customers with UNIX experience and internal IT resources, he says.

The twin challenges are those common to modern research—lots of data and limited manpower. The GeneSifter software platform supports both laboratory workflows and data analysis automation. Users are able to significantly increase capacity, reduce their backlog, eliminate errors due to manual processes, and speed time to discovery, Smith says.

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