Love Me Tender: OGT to supply NHS cytogenetic arrays
Blog Feb 10, 2014
Last week saw Oxford Gene Technology (OGT) announce a significant tender by the UK National Health Service for the supply of oligo-based arrays for cytogenetics.
To learn more about the agreement and the factors that contributed to OGT's success, we spoke to James Clough, Executive Vice President Commercial at OGT.
AB: Can you tell me more about the agreement with the NHS, what does this cover?
James Clough (JC): Within the NHS, arrays are being used on post-natal constitutional samples to detect chromosomal abnormalities, specifically amplifications and deletions. The outcome of this competitive tender is that, after extensive validation, OGT has been chosen as the sole cytogenetic array vendor for the four NHS Genetic Labs of Bristol, Manchester, Salisbury and Sheffield. An additional eight labs (Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Great Ormond Street, Leeds, Leicester, Nottingham and Oxford) have the option to join the agreed array supply framework. These labs would not only benefit from OGT’s high-quality CytoSure arrays and class-leading analysis software but also from the preferential pricing structure agreed as part of the tender process.
AB: What does this significant tender mean for the company?
JC: This tender represents a significant proportion of the UK’s NHS cytogenetics labs and we are delighted to have been successful in this particularly rigorous and well-run process. While there are other NHS labs that are outside the scope of this tender, we believe these labs will take great interest in the validation results obtained and we would be delighted to demonstrate our winning platform to them.
AB: The news release stated OGT were successful due to a combination of the CytoSure array and Interpret Software, what benefits do they offer cytogenetics researchers that made OGT successful in this tender?
JC: During the exhaustive tender process, each supplier who entered was rigorously assessed for the quality of their array products, reagents, software and support. In addition, detailed software demonstrations were provided to ensure the chosen platform met the needs of a modern NHS cytogenetics research laboratory. OGT’s class-leading CytoSure Interpret Software delivers a number of unique features that allow streamlined and standardised data analysis, including Automatic Aberration Classification, inter-laboratory database sharing and full audit trails. Not only did the tender find that OGT offers the highest quality products but also customer support – this is one of the reasons that, for 3 years running, 100% of CytoSure customers would recommend us to a colleague.
AB: Your CytoSure ISCA 8x60K platform was designed in collaboration with the International Collaboration for Clinical Genomics (ICCG), can you tell me more about this partnership and what this enabled?
JC: The ICCG (formerly known as the International Standards for Cytogenomic Arrays [ISCA] consortium) has been instrumental in driving the development and implementation of standardised, evidence-based microarray designs focusing on disease and syndrome-associated genome regions. OGT has worked in collaboration with the ICCG since their inception and now offers a number of ICCG-led microarray designs. Where OGT differs from ICCG array designs from alternative providers is in the empirical and experimental optimisation of its microarray probes which ensures only the best performing probes are selected for inclusion in the final product. In addition, the 60-mer oligo probes, as utilised by OGT’s platform, have been independently shown to deliver superior detection of DNA copy number variation. OGT also offers ICCG array content combined with SNP probes which allows detection of CNV, uniparental disomy (UPD) and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) on a single array. This increased functionality enables cost-effective identification of a broader range of genetic syndromes in a single array experiment — without any additional investment in equipment or training.