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Affymetrix, Inc. (AFFX) Seals Key Research And Service Deal With South Africa's Major State-Backed Genomics Organization

|Includes: Affymetrix, Inc. (AFFX)

Affymetrix, which has assembled an impressive portfolio of genetic analysis technologies and is a true pioneer in developing microarray solutions for a wide range of lab work/research needs, reported today that the company has secured a key research and service collaboration with a major player in South Africa's rapidly emerging biotech/life science industry, the CPGR (Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research, established by South Africa's Technology Innovation Agency to promote sector development).

The CPGR arose as part of a larger initiative by South Africa's Department of Science and Technology to support the growth and development of the nation's bio-economy. As such, the CPGR is a melting pot for the very best and latest in genomic and proteomic technologies, with the kind of bio-computational pipelining and biological modeling capability needed to execute cutting-edge human health and agri-biotech solutions.

This partnership between AFFX and the CPGR has the potential to create some astoundingly high-throughput genomics research and downstream personalized medicine developments throughout the entire continent. Affymetrix's toolkit includes the GeneTitan® family of instruments using the company's proven GeneChip® Array Plates, a one-stop-shop for hands-free automated monitoring that handles both gene expression and genome-wide SNP genotyping (single nucleotide polymorphism measurement).

Managing Director for the CPGR, Dr. Reinhard Hiller, noted how perfect the GeneTitan Multi-Channel Instrument was in conjunction with the company's highly-customizable Axiom® Genotyping Array Solutions, which provide a completely dovetailed workflow with GeneTitan, offering pre-designed and customized array plates that use content validated by the Axiom Genomic Database itself (includes full reagent kits and analytical toolsets for the data). Dr. Hiller remarked on how the AFFX product lineup really nails the requirements of scientists across Africa, whose research projects range from small-scale pilots, all the way up to focused validation studies and large-scale discovery type work.

Dr. Hiller was clearly pleased at how the AFFX hardware would greatly expand the CPGR's genomics muscle, allowing the organization to service/support a whole host of new cutting-edge translational research work being done in Africa, clearing the way for multiple new discoveries and validations of disease-related biomarkers in a highly cost-effective manner. This technology has the power to even kick up extremely rare genetic variants, all via the same low cost, easy to implement methodology. Dr. Hiller explained how the CPGR is anticipating some serious progress in personalized medicine studies now that they have this kind of AFFX-enabled genomics muscle and how the personalized studies aimed at identifying specific genetic markers could lead to developing major upgrades in the areas of diagnosis and drug treatment.

This is incredibly important work being made possible through the partnership, as it is well-known that genetic variability in African populations is higher than anywhere else on earth, meaning not only are such populations vastly underrepresented in hereditary disease and pharmacogenomic studies, but also that exciting new discoveries with wider ranging implications might be made as the work is done. Application of such genomic discoveries certainly has massive impact potential for the health and wellness of all people in Africa, and CPGR will be leading the charge with renewed vigor now that they are equipped with the powerful Affymetrix hardware.

VP of Commercial Operations for International Markets at AFFX, Chris Barbazette, hailed the deal as not only a huge opportunity to ensure that all African populations are fully represented in genomics work leading to personalized therapies, but also a key in-road for the company, whose products will continue to be in high demand as developments progress. Barbazette noted how AFFX is keen to provide leadership in population-optimized genotyping analysis and reminded markets that the company was the first to create a "genotyping array with content derived specifically from African populations."

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