WaferGen Biosystems and Qiagen said today they will promote and market each other’s products in Japan—namely WaferGen’s SmartChip real-time PCR system and Qiagen’s PCRarrays next-generation sequencing (NGS) platform, under a joint marketing agreement.

The companies said the agreement was part of Qiagen’s effort to create integrated NGS workflows that combine instrumentation and consumables into a single sample-to-result offering planned for launch later this year. In advance of that launch, WaferGen said, it will work together with Qiagen to develop an overall marketing strategy and tactical plan.

“We have successfully evaluated WaferGen’s SmartChip system, and we believe that it can play an important role in our comprehensive product offering,” Stephane Perrey, president of Qiagen’s Japan subsidiary Qiagen KK, said in a statement. “There is a substantial customer need to ramp up discovery efforts through targeted screening and confirmation, and our integrated approach will provide one-stop shopping for a variety of academic and industrial clients.”

Ivan Trifunovich, WaferGen’s president and CEO, said in the statement the Japan marketing agreement follows the success of its launch in July of the MyDesign open format instrument for SmartChip in the U.S. and Europe. MyDesign lets customers dispense their own assays in any of 14 different assay/sample configurations, with the goal of facilitating easier and quicker design of new experiments.

“We are confident that our three-part value proposition—platform flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and no need for pre-amplification—will be strong drivers of customers’ interest,” Trifunovich added.

WaferGen’s SmartChip system is a next-gen genetic analysis platform allowing applications that include NGS target enrichment, as well as profiling and validating thousands of molecular biomarkers in parallel. The system is also designed to provide a range of high-throughput capabilities including microRNA and mRNA gene expression profiling, as well as single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping.

Qiagen markets more than 500 products worldwide, selling both consumable kits and automation systems to four classes of customers: molecular diagnostics, applied testing, pharma, and academia.

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