March 7, 2002
Randy White, Ph.D.
Multiplex Testing: The Means to a Cure
What is the history of your organization’s involvement in life sciences?
White: The company’s goal, from its inception in 1993, has been to enter the life sciences market, particularly, to apply genomics to the area of clinical diagnostics.
What is your vision for the development of the life sciences market?
White: Genomics is rapidly driving the convergence of diagnostics and medicine. We are experiencing a literal explosion of knowledge concerning the human genome. Over the past decade, specific genes associated with inherited diseases, infectious diseases, and cancer have been identified. And today the high throughput screening of large populations is providing an even more detailed understanding of our genome. Although these discoveries have created a great deal of excitement and expectation, I believe that the future will belong to those who figure out how to use the information to develop new therapeutics and diagnostics.
What organizational assets have you developed to serve this community?
White: Initially, our company focused its resources on research—bringing in the right team of scientists to develop our platform technology. To date, we have developed the first and only electronically-controlled DNA microarray, called the NanoChip® cartridge, as well as the analysis equipment and software, which we refer to as the NanoChip Molecular Biology Workstation. Combined, they effectively miniaturize the work of an entire laboratory into a “2x3” cartridge.
What products and services does your company provide to the life sciences market?
White: Nanogen has a very promising platform technology. In addition to the NanoChip Molecular Biology Workstation and the NanoChip Cartridge, we have internally validated five research protocols for use in research laboratories on the NanoChip® Molecular Biology Workstation system.
The NanoChip System is a fully-automated, multipurpose molecular biology workstation that facilitates the analysis of any charged molecule, including both SNPs and STRs. We believe that there is no other technology on the market today that has the combined accuracy, simplicity, and cost-effectiveness that our system offers. If you look at other companies’ technologies, they have passive arrays. What you do to one site, you do to every site on the array. Nanogen uses the power of electronics to address each site on our array independently. I like to use the example of a book of matches. With our array, you can strike one match and you will still have the rest of the book available. With a passive array, if you strike one match, you lose the whole book.
The ability to move DNA to an individual site on our array also allows us to do multiplex testing. At Nanogen we believe the future of patient care will be multiplex testing. Due to the power of electronics, our platform allows customers to perform multiple tests simultaneously on a single chip and does so for a cost we believe to be significantly less than if the same tests are performed separately.
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