FREMONT, Calif., Jan. 24 WaferGen Biosystems,Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: WGBS), a leading developer of state-of-the-art geneexpression, genotyping, cell biology and stem cell research systems, todayannounced the formal opening of its new, state-of-the-art subsidiary in KulimHi-Tech Park, Kedah, Malaysia. With the opening, the subsidiary, WaferGenBiosystems (M) Sdn. Bhd., will launch various initiatives to support a numberof WaferGen's ongoing SmartChip(TM) Real-Time PCR System development andcommercialization goals. Most critically, this new organization will overseeseveral research and development activities related to the SmartChip(TM)Real-Time PCR System, pursue and establish valuable research and developmentcollaborations with local universities and government-run research centers,and coordinate production of the SmartChip system with WaferGen'sMalaysia-based contract manufacturer.
"It is with great excitement that we announce today's opening ofWaferGen's new subsidiary, WaferGen Biosystems (M) Sdn. Bhd., in Kulim Hi-TechPark, Kedah, Malaysia, a vibrant city that we view as an emerging hotbed ofbiotech-related talent, resources and infrastructure. Our commencement ofoperations in Malaysia represents an important corporate milestone andpromises to significantly assist WaferGen in the achievement of an evengreater milestone: the commercialization of the revolutionary SmartChipReal-Time PCR System," said Alnoor Shivji, WaferGen's chairman and chiefexecutive officer. "It is important to note that our commitment to Kulim andour operations here is one of long term strategy and vision. This keyexpansion of WaferGen's presence and capabilities is an important step in notonly the commercialization of the SmartChip system but also in enabling thecompany to continuously enhance the system and broaden its potentialapplications following its initial launch."
Initial work at the new subsidiary will focus on research and developmentactivities related to the optimization of various gene panel assays to be usedwith the SmartChip Real-Time PCR system. These assays will have applicationsacross broad clinical and therapeutic areas of focus including various diseasetargets, as well as toxicology and whole-genome analysis. To support theseresearch and development efforts, WaferGen intends to work with the MalaysianIndustrial Development Authority (MIDA) and the Malaysian BiotechnologyCorporation Sdn. Bhd. (BiotechCorp) to facilitate and accelerate the operationof WaferGen Biosystems (M) Sdn. Bhd.
Concurrently, WaferGen plans to initiate research collaborations withleading local universities, as well as Malaysia's Genome Research Center. Thefocus of these alliances will be the leveraging of the SmartChip Real-Time PCRSystem for the discovery and identification of new, therapeutically-relevantbiomarkers. The research breakthroughs that emerge from these high-valuecollaborations will provide WaferGen with key opportunities for expanding thebreadth of applications for which the SmartChip system and its gene panelassays can be used.
Also in connection with the opening of the new Kulim facility, WaferGenannounced that it has entered into a contract manufacture agreement withPentamaster Corporation Berhad for production of the SmartChip Real-Time PCRSystem. Pentamaster, a Penang, Malaysia-based company that provides advancedand world class automation solutions and services, will be responsible for theproduction of the final SmartChip system. Coordination of all productionactivities by Pentamaster will be handled by the team at WaferGen Biosystems(M) Sdn. Bhd.
WaferGen recently announced the completion of the alpha version of itsSmartChip(TM) Real-Time PCR System, as well as proprietary oncology gene panelassays to be used with the system. The system has the capacity to conduct33,750 assays on a single chip. Comparatively, today's standard rea