Roche Diagnostics and Chinese biochips firm CapitalBio signed a memorandum of understanding for a partnership that aims to develop new microarray-based products for molecular diagnostic applications. The collaboration will initially focus on the development of instruments and products to automate and enhance the Roche NimbleGen microarray workflow and its application in preventive and personalized diagnostics. However, the collaboration hopes more broadly to span a range of advanced molecular diagnostic assays for clinical diagnosis and medical research, including the use of 454 Life Sciences’ next-gen sequencing technology in medical applications.
A particular emphasis will, in addition, be placed on education across China and internationally to promote the uses and benefits of molecular diagnostics based on microarray technologies and next-gen sequencing. To this end, the partners plan to establish educational facilities across China for molecular R&D and the application of clinical molecular diagnostics.
“CapitalBio and Roche offer a large number of complementary skills and interests that can be well served through the harnessing of the capabilities of both companies for product research and development, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution in China and for international markets,” comments Jing Cheng, Ph.D., CapitalBio CEO.
CapitalBio recently expanded its microarray genomics service facility at its Beijing headquarters and established an independent medical testing laboratory in Chengdu. The firm already has two subsidiaries, CapitalBio International based in San Diego and CapitalBio Hong Kong. It has acted as a Roche NimbleGen Certified Service Provider (CSP) since January 2010 and was the first Chinese company to achieve NimbleGen CSP status.
CapitalBio's existing range of products include diagnostic chips for a range of diseases and infections, and whole-genome arrays for gene-expression profiling and genotyping in man and other species. The firm is also developing biochips utilizing microfluidic, microprocessor, and bioelectro-magnetic technology. Resulting products include a fully integrated micrometrix device, an electro-rotational field measuring chip for cell viability tests, a bioelectronic chip with cell-positioning electrodes, and signal measuring electrodes for neuron cell network monitoring, and a gas chromatography microchip for various applications.
Chip technology is complemented by instrumentation including arrayers, scanners, and hybridization/wash stations, along with services for life science applications. These span DNA, RNA, and protein analysis services, and Affymetrix GeneChip®, Roche NimbleGen, and Sequenom MassArray® platform services.