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PerkinElmer gets xMap license: Luminex multiplex technology gains heavyweight partner
BOSTON—In early January PerkinElmer announced it signed a long-term licensing agreement with Austin, Texas-based Luminex Corp. for its multiplex bioassay technology called xMAP. PerkinElmer intends to use xMAP for products ranging from biomarker panels for pharmaceutical development and ADME/Tox to in vitro diagnostics in maternal, neonatal and prenatal health. PerkinElmer also plans to standardize its multiplex assay development on the Luminex xMAP platform.
"We set up a project over a year ago to look broadly at multiplexing for a variety of applications," says Neil Cook, vice president, global research and development and CSO for PerkinElmer Life Sciences. "We assembled a product matrix based on product needs and our evaluation of different technologies available led us to Luminex."
For Patrick Balthrop, Luminex president and CEO, the license deal with PerkinElmer in many ways signals that the 11-year-old company is now ready to play in the big leagues. The company, which operates under a value-added reseller model, has recently switched its strategy of providing its technology to virtually any customer to a much more selective and targeted approach. "Three years ago, we wouldn't have been in a position to do the deal like we have with PerkinElmer," he says. "Financially we have $38 million in cash, no debt and we were cash-flow positive for the first three quarters of 2005. We don't need to do deals with just anyone who comes along anymore."
To that end, Luminex is seeking to find market leaders in a variety of different market verticals that can use its technology.
In this case, PerkinElmer saw the value of xMAP in a number of different arenas, from preclinical testing to diagnostics. According to the company, xMAP can perform multiplexed bioassays that can multiple analytes in a single well, a critical factor when analyzing small samples. It can look at multiple analytes using hollow bead technology. Using two different dyes, the beads are filled with varying amounts of each dye to create 100-bead sets with distinct spectral signatures. The beads can then be coated with a reagent specific to a particular assay which will allow for the capture and detection of up to 100 analytes per sample.