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NuGENís sample prep to be integrated with WaferGenís analytical workflow
May 2011
by Lloyd Dunlap  |  Email the author


SAN CARLOS, Calif.óWaferGen Biosystems Inc., a developer of genomic analysis systems, and NuGEN Technologies Inc., which specializes in genomic sample preparation, will co-develop and co-market "simple, seamlessly integrated workflows for gene expression profiling and target enrichment to enable researchers to more easily achieve high-throughput, high-density real-time PCR with small, degraded and hard-to replace clinical specimens, such as formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissue (FFPE)."
NuGEN CEO Elizabeth Hutt supports this claim by noting, "The first stage of the co-development effort is focused on generating validation data demonstrating the system integration between the two companies' commercial products. We will use NuGEN's unique single primer isothermal amplification systems designed for challenging clinical samples such as the total RNAs isolated from small biopsies or FFPE up front of WaferGen's highly parallel qPCR 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 by industry reputation in addition to mutual customers and advisors, Hutt says.
"I had the opportunity to meet WaferGen CEO Alnoor Shivji a couple of months ago, and we recognized that the two companies have been independently working towards the same end goal of simplifying customers' workflow for highly parallel genomic analysis, and we can generate a great deal of synergy by working more closely together. We quickly brought our two teams together and are looking forward to generating results from the co-development efforts," she states.  
Under the collaborative relationship, the two companies will conduct joint product development projects to construct validated workflows with both NuGEN's proprietary sample preparation and isothermal linear amplification (SPIA) products and the WaferGen SmartChip Real-Time PCR System. The projects will focus on solutions for sample preparation, pre-amplification and nucleic acid detection for gene expression and target enrichment from various sample types to drive speed and simplicity.
"By combining the expertise of both companies, we can offer a simple and straightforward workflow solution for single cell analysis, archival tissues and next-generation sequencing, addressing the needs of customers with precious nucleic acid samples who wish to perform high-throughput, high-density real-time PCR," says Shivji. "This will expand the market potential of our SmartChip System by offering ready-to-go applications for biomarker discovery, validation and screening."
NuGEN's unique sample preparation solution, integrated with WaferGen's SmartChip System, is clearly synergistic, says Hutt.  
"Our expertise in solving the challenges associated with clinical samples, such as formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues or fine needle aspirates, will be leveraged in a simple workflow from sample to analysis, expediting disease research and clinical applications," she says. "We see synergies between the two companies to address certain sequencing bottlenecks, such as targeted sequence enrichment."
Detailed work plans will need to be worked out to demonstrate the feasibility, Hutt adds. The first phase of the co-development project will reveal how well the two teams work together. There are a lot of synergies, and novel ideas may arise during the initial phase as they work to better understand each other's capabilities and platform potential.  
"We will thoroughly explore the technical expertise of both companies as the collaboration progresses." Hutt says, adding that it is possible, but not likely, that modifications will be needed in NuGEN's sample prep technology. "We will make that determination after the technical teams produce some early development data," she says. NuGEN's systems are already compatible with a range of downstream qPCR analysis methods, and Hutt says she hopes the WaferGen SmartChip system will be a ready-made plug-in.
Code: E051112



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