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Posted: December 16, 2009

WaferGen to Launch Human MicroRNA Panel for Gene-Expression Profiling of 885 MicroRNA

(Nanowerk News) WaferGen Biosystems, Inc., a leading developer of state-of-the-art genetic analysis systems, today announced that it will be launching the Human MicroRNA Panel for its innovative service for gene-expression profiling using its SmartChip™ Real-Time PCR System. The Human MicroRNA Panel provides the most comprehensive human microRNA panel of 885 microRNAs on a single SmartChip. The company's SmartChip service offers customers the use of its proprietary SmartChip Real-Time PCR system that utilizes pathway-specific gene panels to discover and validate new biomarkers.
"The Human MicroRNA Panel assures that the latest and most comprehensive information is made available to researchers by providing the ability to quantitate 885 microRNAs on a single SmartChip," said David Gelfand, Ph.D., the company's Chief Scientific Officer and one of the pioneers of PCR. "The SmartChip design allows WaferGen to quickly incorporate newly released sequences giving researchers the ability to stay up to date with the latest discoveries."
"By offering SmartChip services, including the Human MicroRNA, we provide early access to our products and a short-term revenue stream prior to commercialization," said Alnoor Shivji, Chairman and CEO, WaferGen.
MicroRNAs are small non-protein-coding single-stranded RNA molecules of 21-23 nucleotides in length that function as negative regulators of gene expression by targeting specific messenger RNAs. This either inhibits translation or promotes messenger RNA degradation. Cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment are important potential clinical applications of microRNA profiling. The new Human MicroRNA expression profiling service will use the human genes from the new miRBase version 14.0 sequence database, providing researchers with the latest, up-to-date-sequences.
The WaferGen SmartChip Service for the Human MicroRNA Panel will bebroadly available in the first quarter of 2010.
The WaferGen SmartChip Service is targeted at scientists involved in the discovery and validation of molecular biomarkers. The 5,184 nano-well SmartChip uses a small amount of biological material to query a thousand genes in a single sample, enabling discovery of biomarkers while saving researchers time and money. The initial product to be run on the SmartChip platform is the SmartChip Human Oncology Gene Panel that provides pathway based gene expression profiling for Oncology. By applying Quantitative Real-Time PCR Expression Profiling, the SmartChip system combines the gene expression-profiling throughput of microarrays with the sensitivity and dynamic range of Real-Time PCR, the gold standard of gene expression studies. The 27 built-in controls in the Human Oncology Gene Panel and the 12 built-in controls in the Human MicroRNA Panel offer added quality assurance to the results.
As previously announced, the company is moving to a new facility to support the SmartChip services and the expansion of manufacturing and R&D functions.
About WaferGen and the SmartChip Real-Time PCR System
WaferGen Biosystems, Inc. is a leader in the development, manufacture and sale of state-of-the-art systems for genetic analysis for the life science and pharmaceutical industries. The company is actively developing its SmartChip product for the gene expression and genotyping markets. The SmartChip Real-Time PCR System is designed as the first whole genome, high-throughput gene expression real-time PCR platform. Combined with next-generation chemistry and optimized assays being developed by WaferGen under the guidance of David Gelfand, Ph.D., the company's Chief Scientific Officer and one of the pioneers of PCR, this innovative system promises to deliver significant speed and cost advantages to researchers in the gene expression and genotyping markets.
Based on collaborations established with leading research institutions, WaferGen believes that the SmartChip Real-Time PCR System is positioned as the platform of choice for biomarker discovery and validation. The system will provide a number of key ease-of-use features including content-ready chips with gene panels optimized for microRNA, cancer, and whole genome. WaferGen believes the SmartChip Real-Time PCR System will be the first platform to combine the high-throughput capability and cost efficiencies of existing microarrays, with the sensitivity and accuracy of real-time PCR.
Source: WaferGen Biosystems (press release)

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