Posted: September 16, 2008

NuGEN and Hamilton Create Automated, Total Target Preparation Solution to Improve Gene Expression Analysis Workflow

(Nanowerk News) NuGEN Technologies, Inc., a privately held company that develops and commercializes nucleic acid amplification and sample preparation systems, and the Hamilton Company, a world leader in precision liquid handling announced today the two companies have assembled an automated, total target preparation solution to address the high-throughput challenges required in processing large sets of clinical samples for global gene expression analysis. The validated solution, consisting of NuGEN’s popular Ovation® Systems and the Hamilton MICROLAB STARlet bench-top liquid handling system, was carefully engineered to increase throughput and improve workflow for small RNA samples commonly used in clinical signature and biomarker discovery.
This fully integrated solution manages a full range of target preparation functions — RNA amplification, purification, fragmentation, and labeling — for gene expression analysis using Affymetrix GeneChip® and HT arrays. The net result of its improved workflow includes not only increased throughput, but higher reproducibility, reduced hands-on intervention, and the ability to process RNA from a wide spectrum of clinical samples including whole blood, biopsies, and laser-captured micro-dissected specimens.
According to Dr. Joe Don Heath, NuGEN senior director, technical marketing and automation solutions, the NuGEN/Hamilton collaboration was inspired by the automation requirements of a mutual customer. “An important customer challenged us to develop a solution that would round out the workflow methodology supporting a variety of valuable studies,” noted Heath. “It made sense for NuGEN and Hamilton to partner on the initiative, each bringing its own products and expertise to the table.”
“NuGEN brought proven reagents and protocols; Hamilton delivered the tools and years of automation expertise,” explained Dr. Roland Borner, senior product manager, genomics, Hamilton Bonaduz AG. “Together, we created a solution the customer could easily validate, replicate, and deploy across a range of important studies.”
Thanks to the Hamilton STAR line’s modularity, the system can be easily adapted to different throughput requirements. The bench-top MICROLAB STARlet platform, for example, can be upgraded on-site to a STARplus, nearly doubling the capacity of the automated system. This modularity is also true for STAR pipetting options—up to 16 individual pipetting channels can be combined with any of HAMILTON’s multiprobe heads for increased throughput (96, 384 or nano).
According to Heath, the customer tested and validated the joint NuGEN/Hamilton solution on a MICROLAB® STARlet platform with eight individual channels. The target preparation process was remarkably efficient from RNA amplification through cDNA labeling. It saved the customer’s research team both time and labor, while fulfilling the challenge for a more robust, automated sample preparation methodology. The target preparation process will be used in a number of upcoming gene expression profiling projects where RNA starting material is limited.
The NuGEN Ovation Systems family of RNA amplification and labeling products enable life scientists to conduct sensitive, robust gene expression profiling and novel signature discovery using a variety of challenging biological samples using the Affymetrix®, Agilent, and Illumina® platforms, or qPCR. Ovation Systems may be used with a broad range of sample types including formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE), whole blood, tissue biopsies, laser-captured micro-dissected cells (LCM), and sorted cells specimens. NuGEN recently achieved ISO 13485:2003 certification for its quality management systems established in 2006 to support the company’s customers in meeting mandated regulatory processes.
The Hamilton MICROLAB STARlet bench-top liquid handling system is based on superior air displacement pipetting technology, which increases accuracy and repeatability while providing chain of custody with pipette condition monitoring and recording. The STARlet workstation can be configured with multiple arms; each arm can be configured with multiple pipetting and labware gripping devices. Pipetting channels and labware grippers move independently of each other, supporting the use of a wide range of labware. The autoload option provides barcode tracking of samples, labware, racks, and carriers. All workstation functions and integrated third-party devices are controlled by the Venus software. The STARlet requires just one meter of counter space for easy integration into lab environments.
For more information on automated, total target preparation and the STAR line contact Dr. Jörg Katzenberger at HAMILTON Robotics, phone +49 89 552 649 15, e-mail [email protected], or visit
For more information on Ovation Systems, contact NuGEN Technologies at 888-654-6544, email [email protected], or visit the NuGEN website at
About NuGEN
NuGEN Technologies, Inc. (, based in San Carlos, CA, is focused on the development and commercialization of sensitive, rapid, and high-throughput sample preparation solutions to enable the comprehensive analysis and discovery of biological mechanisms, cellular responses, and disease pathologies.
About Hamilton Company
For almost 50 years, HAMILTON products have successfully served researchers in laboratories all over the world. A long history of successful products began in 1947 with the development of the MICROLAB® syringe by the company’s founder.
Source: NuGEN (press release)
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