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Right on target for genomics
October 2009
by David Hutton  |  Email the author


SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Affymetrix Inc. and Beckman Coulter Inc. have reached an agreement to offer researchers co-developed products from the market leaders in microarrays and automated liquid handlers.
The collaboration will provide scientists with optimized, robust solutions for genomic research, fortified by end-to-end support.
According to Greg Fisher, associate director of product marketing for Affymetrix, the company is making its growing list of automated target preparation methods available in conjunction with Beckman Coulter's Biomek FXp Dual Arm Multichannel-Span 8 Liquid Handler for stronger, optimized solutions for genomic research. 
"We have other plans in the works to expand these activities to other Beckman systems," he notes.
Fisher adds that benefits of the solution will include the flexibility to process samples using Affymetrix GeneChip Arrays or Array Plates with a single method, user-friendly interfaces, rapid implementation of new methods, a validated platform, elimination of costly mistakes and delivery of high-quality results.
"Customer feedback showed us both that after the introduction of the GeneTitan System, the workflow bottleneck for scientists moved from array processing to target preparation," Fisher says. "Customers wanted to see that area automated, and that is what drove us to come together to enter into this co-marketing agreement, and that helped direct the focus of the collaboration. The idea is to provide a menu of assay methods that provide a wide range of solutions supporting a diverse set of genomic research applications."
Selecting Beckman Coulter was a collaborator was an easy process for Affymetrix, according to Fisher, because of existing relationships.
"We had already been working with them as a premier application provider for some time," he says. "Given that our domain expertise is in microarrays and microarray processing, it is natural for us to partner with the premier provider of liquid-handling platforms to best serve our mutual customers."
According to Kevin King, president and CEO of Affymetrix, Beckman Coulter's long history in manufacturing quality automation platforms with proven reliability make the company the ideal partner for developing automated target prep assays.
"These products not only provide a much needed target prep solution for our large installed base of GeneChip Array cartridge users, but very importantly, this agreement aligns with our strategic goals to reengineer the Affymetrix platform," King notes. "With automated target prep robotics in front of our GeneTitan System, our customers will benefit from walk-away automation from prepared samples all the way through array processing and data generation."
Beckman continues to be drawn to Affymetrix because its genomics expertise and technologies are a great match for Beckman Coulter's automation solutions, notes Wing Pang, corporate vice president of discovery products at Beckman Coulter.
"Customers will soon see the fruits of this collaboration with the availability of automated target prep solutions for microarrays that address a wide range of sophisticated genetic analysis assays," notes Pang.

Beckman Coulter and Propel Labs to collaborate on flow cytometry
ORANGE COUNTY, Calif.—Beckman Coulter Inc. also announced last month that it has entered into a strategic alliance with Propel Labs LLC, a privately held bio-instrumentation development company specializing in flow cytometry. As part of this alliance, Propel will support Beckman Coulter with field upgrades of MoFlo instruments to the specifications associated with the more recent XDP version. Financial terms of the partnership were not released.
"Customers that have MoFlo systems are extremely loyal to the product and have been for many years," says Brad Calvin, vice president of Beckman Coulter's Flow Cytometry Business Center. "This alliance demonstrates our continued support for these customers and a product that has become central to their research applications."
Propel Labs is based in Fort Collins, Colo.

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