Almac and Affymetrix in global distribution agreement


Almac’s Xcel array optimised for RNA expression profiling from Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded (FFPE) samples

Almac has signed an exclusive global distribution deal with Affymetrix, enabling the company to sell directly Almac’s proprietary Xcel array for biomarker discovery, development and delivery worldwide.

Almac’s Xcel array is a high density transcriptome-based microarray that has been optimised for the discovery and development of biomarkers from formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissue. Designed by Almac and built on the industry standard Affymetrix’s GeneChip platform, the content of Xcel array has been derived from high quality sequence data, as well as mining public gene expression and sequence databases.

The array contains more content than all currently available 3` microarrays, with more than 97,000 transcripts including antisense, non-coding transcripts and significant unique content. Working with FFPE enables the potential to profile retrospective samples in tissue banks, a highly valuable resource.

Standard practice is to collect patient samples and store in FFPE, and the ability to unlock information from these samples will increase rapidly the discovery opportunities in personalised medicine. Further to this, translating these discoveries into the clinic on an FFPE platform will drive the commercialisation of these biomarkers.

The substantial content on Almac’s Xcel array ensures that the platform technology is ideally suited for research in cross-disease areas, a notable advantage to pharmaceutical companies. It has also been designed to include all of the content from the Affymetrix’s GeneChip Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 Array, enabling simple transfer and continuation of existing research.

‘Almac’s Xcel array with its superior design and content derived from multiple cancer types provides an ideal microarray for gene expression profiling from FFPE tissues, unlocking previously inaccessible genetic content for translational research,’ said Dr Kevin Cannon, Expression Business Lead at Affymetrix.

‘Researchers now have the ability to carry out retrospective studies for discovery and validation of gene expression biomarkers and translate them into clinical practices. This array represents a significant technology advancement, and combined with Genisphere’s Sensation reagents addresses a much needed FFPE workflow solution for gene expression profiling and biomarker discovery.’

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Vice President of Business Development of Almac’s Diagnostics Business Unit, Michael Sloan, commented: ‘We are very pleased to have entered into this agreement with Affymetrix. The Xcel array has proven to be extremely useful in our hands for biomarker discovery both for our in-house r&d and for our clients. This distribution deal with Affymetrix will enable more researchers to see the benefit of the platform.’