NuGEN Technologies – a specialist in NGS and genomic sample preparation products – joined the Tecan Group in September 2018, opening up exciting new opportunities for integrated NGS workflow solutions.
NuGEN Technologies is based in the US and was founded in 2000 around a core sample preparation technology called SPIA (single primer isothermal amplification), a method that provides robust amplification of small quantities of RNA, even for poor quality samples. In these early days, the company’s focus was on solutions for microarrays. Then, with advances in NGS and wide adoption of genomics in life sciences research, it expanded its product development into NGS library preparation to address the unmet needs in genomics sample preparation. The portfolio now offers over 20 NGS and microarray sample preparation products, covering a wide range of sample types, including RNA and DNA extracted from fresh and FFPE (formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded) tissues, single cells, and liquid biopsies.
In September 2018, NuGEN joined the Tecan Group to become Tecan Genomics, bringing a wealth of NGS reagent knowledge to existing expertise in automation solutions. Lin Pham, Vice President of Research and Development, has many years’ experience in the life sciences sector, specifically in genomics, and has overseen product development at the company since the NGS revolution. She explained: “It’s amazing to see how things have advanced over my time here; we have collectively learned a tremendous amount, and apply this knowledge to the development of innovative products every day. Our extensive knowledge covers all areas of sample preparation, from DNA- and RNA-seq to target enrichment and methylation studies. We are very much a customer-centric organization, and spend a lot of time interacting with customers – attending conferences, visiting their labs and developing close relationships with them. Everything we do is driven by understanding and anticipating their needs, and regular feedback helps us to identify common problems and develop solutions for them. The biggest bottleneck we currently see in NGS sample prep is converting nucleic acids into NGS libraries – a vital step because the ability to sequence well depends on it. This has been our most recent focal point, resulting in NuQuant®, a novel method that accurately measures molar concentrations of NGS libraries in seconds. Joining Tecan will help us to contribute even more to the market, pulling together the expertise from both companies, and combining our respective reagents and platforms.”
The first joint solution is already under development, integrating and automating NuQuant so that customers can pool libraries and load them onto sequencers without going through tedious quantification processes. This new solution is based on a standard NGS deck configuration of the Fluent® Automation Workstation, with prevalidated protocols to integrate NuQuant seamlessly with the Infinite® plate reader. Once the DNA or RNA samples and reagents are loaded, the NGS libraries are automatically generated and pooled, resulting in a finished library pool for sequencing.
"Joining Tecan will help us to contribute even more to the market, pulling together the expertise from both companies, and combining our respective reagents and platforms."
Lin added: “Customers are very excited about Tecan Genomics; the combined solutions will improve workflow efficiency and simplify communication – they only need to approach one company for reagents, automation services and application support. At the same time, they will still have the option to use the reagents on other platforms, and other kits on Tecan systems.” Enrique Neumann, Product and Application Manager Genomics at Tecan, commented: “This acquisition offers real value to our customers and their research. The combination of NGS reagents and Tecan platforms will support the R&D process, and the collective expertise of the Tecan team will contribute to the development of combined solutions for every lab. We have prioritized a number of Tecan Genomics products that will be integrated and optimized for use on the Fluent system, providing our customers with a one-stop shop for chemistry and instruments, supported by one partner. The combination of innovative NGS products with our own industry-leading automation platforms will only help to accelerate and empower research – it’s a perfect match.”