Signs of growth in its magnetic separations business are evident at PerkinElmer as its Chemagen unit in Germany marks 1 billion nucleic acid extractions, and the $5 billion acquisition of BioLegend in California adds to the portfolio.
Chemagen recently celebrated its 25-year anniversary and reaching the milestone of more than 1 billion nucleic acid extractions with their instruments and kits for automated bio-separations. It started in business with the development of magnetic particles based on polyvinyl alcohol, referred to as M-PVA Magnetic Beads. They represent a new class of particles and allow applications in nearly every scientific field requiring the isolation of specific biomolecules. It does a sizeable business in helping biotech companies develop their own assays with the beads.
Alongside the beads, the company has developed a line of instruments for automated DNA and RNA purification, able to perform genomic analysis of large numbers of samples. The flagship product is its compact Chemagic 360. The smaller Prepito is a benchtop walk-away model.
The Prime is a highly automated platform combining the company’s M-PVA magnetic bead technology for DNA and RNA purification with liquid handling to provide high-throughput automated isolation of ultra-pure nucleic acids. The liquid handling unit transfers the primary samples to plates suitable for automated nucleic acid purification which are in turn automatically loaded on the extraction deck. Eluates containing the purified DNA or RNA can then be used by the instrument for automated set up of polymerase chain reactions.
The BioLegend portfolio came under the PerkinElmer umbrella in the fall of 2021 when it acquired the San Diego-based antibody and reagent company for $5.25 billion. The acquisition, the largest in PerkinElmer’s history, further expanded its life science franchise into high-growth areas such as cytometry, proteogenomics, multiplex assays, recombinant proteins, bioprocessing and magnetic cell separation.
MojoSort magnetic nanobeads and separation systems are a key product area at BioLegend, allowing the separation of magnetically labeled cells. MojoSort nanobeads are magnetic particles directly conjugated to antibodies or streptavidin. They are the core ingredient in an extensive line of highly specific isolation kits which typically contain a biotin-antibody cocktail and streptavidin nanobeads, intended to isolate an untouched cell population.
To use them, the company also produces MojoSort separation buffer and its MojoSort magnet. Users incubate their sample with the directly conjugated nanobeads. The magnetically labeled fraction is retained by the use of a magnetic separator. After collection of the expressing cells, downstream applications include functional assays, gene expression and phenotypic characterization.