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WaferGen Completes Development of SmartChip™ Real-Time PCR System and Key Oncology Gene Panel Assays

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WaferGen Biosystems, Inc. has announced that it has completed development of the alpha version of its SmartChip™ Real-Time PCR System, as well as proprietary oncology gene panel assays to be used with the system.

The system and oncology gene panel assays will be alpha tested at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School as part of a WaferGen research collaboration.

According to WaferGen, the SmartChip Real-Time PCR System is designed as the first whole genome, high throughput gene expression real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) platform and promises to deliver significant speed and cost advantages to researchers in the gene expression and genotyping markets.

The SmartChip Real-Time PCR System has the capacity to conduct 33,750 assays on a single chip. Comparatively, today's standard real-time PCR technologies are only able to run 384 assays on a single plate, the company says.

Additionally, each of the system's wells is designed to support a real-time PCR reaction of 100 nanoliters. The result is the ability to conduct gene expression research at a fraction of the time and cost associated with current technologies.

Under terms of WaferGen's collaboration with the University of Pittsburg Medical School, Steven D. Shapiro, M.D., Jack D. Myers Professor and Chairman of the Department of Medicine at University of Pittsburgh, and his team of researchers will leverage the high-throughput real-time PCR capabilities of WaferGen's SmartChip Real-Time PCR System to support their identification of therapeutically-relevant biomarkers in the areas of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer.

"As we meet with investors at this week's 26th annual JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, we are happy to be able to share this critical development milestone for WaferGen and our next-generation gene expression technology," said Alnoor Shivji, WaferGen's chairman and chief executive officer.

"We are excited to deliver the SmartChip Real-Time PCR System to Dr. Shapiro so that he and his research team can initiate what we expect to be a very successful alpha test program. We believe that the innovative capabilities of the system will provide valuable benefits to the group's research efforts and we eagerly look forward to their feedback on the product," Shivji added.