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Genotyping for the masses: Applied Bio launches genotyping service provider program for core labs
FOSTER CITY, Calif.óLooking to both increase the sales of products in its SNPlex line, as well as help its core lab cusotomers provider a wider suite of services to customers, Applied Biosystems Inc. rolled out a service provider program via selected core labs to bring genotyping services to researchers that do not have access to capillary electrophoresis (CE) genetic analysis systems. Dubbed the SNPlex Service Provider Program, the effort already counts six core labs in the United States, Europe and China as participants in the program.
"We have noticed from the research labs that a lot of them have started outsourcing, especially some of the more complex projects and assays," says Jennifer Pan, manager of genotyping with Applied Biosystems. "A lot of our core labs already have our DNA sequencing instruments and as an added application to the CE instruments, SNPlex has been designed to be able to genotype multiplexes up to 48. Some of these labs have adopted the assay and are doing really well."
Customers who might be inclined to use the service, according to Pan, are smaller researcher organizations that have conducted some microarray experiments and have identified genes of interest and are now looking to do fine mapping of those genes to identify the SNPs they would be interested in for further study.
"One way to identify those SNPs of interest is to identify as many as possible and so SNPlex allows them to multiplex these," she adds.
To make the service convenient for researchers worldwide, Applied Biosystems announced six core labs that will be offering the service initially. Providers in the program include: the Chinese National Human Genome Center in China; European labs DNAVision of Belgium; IntegraGen Inc. in France; Medical Solutions Geneservice in the United Kingdom; United States-based labs the University of California at Los Angeles DNA Sequencing and Genotyping Core Facility, and Vanderbilt University DNA Sequencing and Genotyping Facility.
These first participants for the SNPlex Service Proider Program were essentially hand-picked by Applied Biosystems. "We selected this particular starting set of labs because they were highly proficient in the technology and had a lot of experience in running it," says Phoebe White, senior director of genotyping applications with Applied Biosystems. "We wanted to support them and drive business through their labs by developing a more concrete relationship with AB and that lab, which we think allows them to have a stronger value proposition for their customers."
Applied Biosystems will support the core labs in the program via marketing support and technical assistance, which should help the labs reach the sweet spot of the marketóresearchers whose company resources or whose scope of work won't justify the significant expense involved to set up a CE lab.
"It's not always practical for a researcher to set up a high-throughput assay in their laboratory if the methods are not the main focus of their work," says Dr. Jeanette Papp, director of GenoSeq Core and member of the program. "GenoSeq Core has the requirements for these experiments in place, including the instrumentation, necessary robotics, bioinformatics, and most importantly, the expertise. This program is another way for us to provide high quality SNP genotyping services to our customers, broaden access to genotyping platforms, and enable them to accelerate their research and business."
The program, however, also highlights work that Applied Biosystems has done over the past couple of years to better understand what the company can do to help their core lab customers.
"We've had a committee working for a couple of years to look at issues with labs and how we can help them in their businesses," says Pan. "This program is a result of some of things we've learned and the work we've done with the committee."