Affymetrix and Genisphere Announce Launch of New, Best-in-Class Solution for microRNA Research Studies

Affymetrix, Inc. (Nasdaq:AFFX) and Genisphere Inc. today announced the launch of a new, best-in-class solution for microRNA (miRNA) research studies. Encompassing assay, array, and software, the solution offers comprehensive miRNA coverage for 71 organisms on a single array. Covered species include human, mouse, rat, canine, and monkey - all of which are critical models for pharmaceutical and academic scientists working in oncology, stem cell research, toxicology, neuroscience, infectious disease, and many other areas.

miRNAs are emerging as a major component in the regulation of gene expression. Their main function is to down-regulate expression by binding to and modulating the translation of specific mRNAs. With the Affymetrix® miRNA solution, researchers can compare expression profiles across tissues and cell samples to gain insight into the role that miRNAs play in various biological processes, such as development, differentiation, viral infection, apoptosis, and oncogenesis.

The GeneChip® miRNA Array is synthesized using a patented, high-quality photolithography process to deliver optimal performance and includes controls to ensure clear experimental outcomes. With the free miRNA QC tool software from Affymetrix, users can normalize data and perform quality control procedures for all miRNA experiments.

The FlashTag™ Biotin RNA Labeling Kit, created by Genisphere, is the first commercial assay of its kind to eliminate the need for sample purification and also provide Enzyme-Linked OligoSorbant Assay (ELOSA)-based quality control to monitor labeling efficiency. It is also the fastest assay on the market, enabling researchers to complete labeling in less than one hour. Requiring as little as 100 ng of total RNA, this highly sensitive assay can discriminate a one-nucleotide difference among miRNAs. The entire solution — array, assay, and software — is compatible with current GeneChip® Systems from Affymetrix.

“This streamlined RNA sample-to-analysis approach reduces the time and effort required from the researcher and their staff, thereby allowing more focus on the creative aspects of their research,” said Dr. Robert Getts, director of R&D at Genisphere. “Early adopters have observed the simplicity, speed, and ease of use of the FlashTag Biotin RNA Labeling Kit and are pleased with the data quality and reproducibility when used with the GeneChip miRNA Array.”

Increasingly, miRNA studies are facilitating the discovery of new exploratory biomarkers and disease-associated signatures. By using gene analysis tools from Affymetrix, researchers can integrate data generated from gene expression and genotyping studies with their miRNA data. This “integrated genomics” approach to biomarker discovery is extremely powerful and is already helping researchers gain critical new insights into the molecular mechanisms that underlie disease and drug response.

“The total US miRNA market is in the early stages of adoption and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25 percent from 2008 to 2015,” 1 said Kevin King, president and CEO of Affymetrix. “This miRNA solution is another example of how Affymetrix continues to advance its leadership position and innovation in the expression market.”

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