LIFE Grows AmpliSeq Portfolio

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Global biotechnology tools company – Life Technologies Corp (LIFE) continued the expansion of its Ion AmpliSeq portfolio with the recent launch of two Ion AmpliSeq Community Panel designs for BRCA1, BRCA2 and Colon and Lung Cancer Panels.

The company expects this new set of Ion AmpliSeq technology to help researchers study samples by delivering more rapid and comprehensive sequencing of Gene Mutations. Life Technologies plans to speak on the use of Ion AmpliSeq panels in clinical research at the American Association of Cancer Research (:AACR) on Saturday, Apr 6.

According to the company, the Ion AmpliSeq BRCA panel helps develop a simple high-throughput workflow with efficiency in least time. The company claimed that, with this solution, it has detected all the expected mutations of the 65 samples tested to date. Life Technologies proclaimed that this AmpliSeq technology helps comprehensive sequencing of difficult mutations, including long homopolymers, in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

On the other hand, the Ion AmpliSeq Colon and Lung Cancer panel design helps describe a cancer according to the molecular sub-population that composes the lesion, which is impossible with traditional methods.

In Oct 2011, Life Technologies launched the Ion AmpliSeq Cancer Panel to help scientists sequence dozens of genes in cancer research samples using a simple workflow. In Mar 2012, the company expanded its AmpliSeq offerings with the launch of Ion AmpliSeq Custom Panels as well as with the accessibility of the Ion AmpliSeq Designer. Last June, the company launched its Comprehensive Cancer and Inherited Disease Panels.

The Ion franchise was inducted into Life Technologies’ portfolio with the acquisition of Ion Torrent, a DNA sequencing company, in Oct 2010. For the past few quarters, the company has been recording robust growth from its Ion personal genome machine (“PGM”) that was launched in Dec 2010, thereby taking the total number of system placements to 700 in 2011.

The Ion franchise was inducted into Life Technologies’ portfolio with the acquisition of Ion Torrent, a DNA sequencing company, in Oct 2010. For the past few quarters, the company has been recording robust revenue growth on the back of this Ion Torrent technology.

Last year, new product introduction in this field more than doubled the revenue of Ion Torrent franchise for the second consecutive time. In Feb 2013, a dozen of new products for the Ion Torrent platform were launched based on advancing clinical research across the world. These new products enabled Ion Torrent semiconductor sequencing technology to expand 1,000-folds in just 2 years and gain a 60% market share of benchtop sequencers.

The company is satisfied with the progress made so far with Ion Torrent technologies and expects the growth momentum to continue. This growth was also supported by more PGM placements and the launch of Ion Proton system in Sep 2012, in line with the prior expectations.

The company now carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, other stocks in the medical device sector, carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), such as Medical Action Industries Inc. (MDCI), Given Imaging (GIVN) and Cyberonics Inc. (CYBX) appear impressive.

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