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Zymark and Bayer Corporation Collaborate to Provide Automated Cell Based Transcription Assay.

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HOPKINTON, Mass. & TARRYTOWN, N.Y.--(BW HealthWire)--Jan. 2, 2001

Zymark and Bayer Corporation's Diagnostics Business Group are pleased to announce a collaborative effort providing an automated platform for cell-based compound screening. The assay solutions package, developed in response to customer needs, runs Bayer's QuantiGene(R) assays on Zymark's Staccato(TM) Workstation. The package includes Bayer's QuantiGene HV Kit and ProbeDesigner(TM) Software and Zymark's Staccato application workstation. The combination permits laboratories to choose any gene target and cell type, and design and run cell-based assays in an automated format.

The collaboration came about after Bayer had developed the cell-based transcription assay and realized the demand for it to be marketed as part of an automated platform. Zymark's Staccato workstation is a scalable, cost-effective workstation that expands throughput and capacity in a manner not currently available from other suppliers. Bayer found that the Staccato completes 10,000 assays in a 24-hour period and provides the necessary flexibility so laboratories can quickly and easily alter the workstation as gene targets change.

The QuantiGene HV Kit, for research use only, not for use in diagnostic procedures, enables rapid, in-house high volume screening of compounds by directly measuring cellular mRNA expression. The assay is unique in that no isolation of mRNA is required. This ability to bypass the sample preparation phase saves significant amounts of time so the laboratory begins screening faster. Cell-based assays offer the power to identify false-positives earlier in discovery, making it possible for laboratories to dramatically reduce candidate validation costs. In addition, the ProbeDesigner software allows the laboratory to design specific probe sets for any mRNA target, ensuring that targets remain proprietary and assays are designed independent of vendor involvement.

"Helping customers accelerate drug discovery research is the key to success in this market," says Stephen Chamberlain, Ph.D., Senior Marketing Manager for QuantiGene technologies at Bayer. "Through the collaboration with Zymark, our companies are able to provide an assay solutions package employing innovative mRNA quantitation technology and the latest in high throughput automation. We are helping laboratories streamline their lead identification and validation processes by providing the means to obtain data of high value, eliminating the time required to develop the assay, and shortening the overall run time. This collaboration gives laboratories the ability to meet their drug discovery goals at lower cost."

"Our mission is to provide laboratory automation technology that debottlenecks critical applications within the drug pipeline," Zymark President and CEO Kevin Hrusovsky explains. "Bayer's QuantiGene technology eliminates the time consuming sample preparation phase of compound screening. Our Staccato workstation increases throughput and is ready for production in a fraction of the time required by other automated platforms. We're very excited about the possibilities this partnering of resources presents in accelerating the drug discovery process."

With more than 7,500 employees worldwide and 1999 sales of close to $1.8 billion, Bayer's Diagnostics Business Group (, based in Tarrytown, New York, USA, is one of the largest diagnostic businesses in the world. The organization supports customers in 100 countries through an extensive portfolio of central laboratory, self-testing, nucleic acid, point of care and critical care diagnostics systems and services for use in the assessment and management of health, including the areas of cardiovascular disease, oncology, virology, women's health and diabetes. Bayer Diagnostics is a part of the worldwide Bayer Group, a $29 billion international life sciences, polymers and specialty chemicals group based in Leverkusen, Germany. Bayer Diagnostics' global headquarters in the United States operates as part of Bayer Corporation of Pittsburgh, a research-based company with major businesses in health care, life science and chemicals.

Zymark Corporation is a worldwide leader in laboratory automation for pharmaceutical and biotechnology applications. The company focuses on eliminating the critical bottlenecks in the drug pipeline in the areas of genomics, screening, compound management and ADME/Toxicology. Zymark is headquartered in Hopkinton, Mass., and has authorized sales and service distributors throughout the rest of the world.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jan 2, 2001
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