WaferGen Launches High-Throughput SmartChip Human MicroRNA Panel V2

Further expands potential of WaferGen's platform technology in the $150 million microRNA segment of the multi-billion dollar genomics analysis market

Mar 28, 2011, 08:30 ET from WaferGen Biosystems, Inc.

FREMONT, Calif., March 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- WaferGen Biosystems, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: WGBS), a leading developer of state-of-the-art genomic analysis systems, today announced the launch of its industry-leading SmartChip Human microRNA Panel V2 for gene expression profiling on the SmartChip Real-Time PCR System.  

The SmartChip Human microRNA Panel V2 is a component of the company's platform technology, the SmartChip System, which specifically analyzes microRNAs (Ribonucleic Acid).  MicroRNAs affect gene regulation and their expression is associated with a number of diseases.  This more comprehensive panel specifically enables profiling of 1200 human microRNAs on a single chip, not possible on other real-time PCR systems.  It enables discovery, validation and screening of biomarkers in a flexible, high-throughput, highly cost-effective manner.

"With this enhanced panel we continue to broaden the applicability of the SmartChip System across a spectrum of research needs, thereby expanding its market potential in the multi-billion dollar genomics analysis market.  Analysts estimate the microRNA market at $150 million and view it as growing exponentially at 20%," said Alnoor Shivji, chairman and CEO, WaferGen. "We believe that the SmartChip Human microRNA Panel V2 offers the most comprehensive and up-to-date survey panel on the market, and is a great addition to our growing list of gene panels."

SmartChip Human microRNA Panel V2

The SmartChip Human microRNA Panel V2 provides a significant advance in content, specificity and sensitivity compared to the first version of the SmartChip Human microRNA Panel.  The single SmartChip Panel is compatible with RNA extracted from a variety of sample types including cell lines, frozen tissue and formalin fixed paraffin embedded tissue (FFPE), one of the more difficult-to-work-with samples. The SmartChip Human microRNA Panel V2 will use more than approximately 1200 human miRNA species from the new miRBase version 16 sequence database.  The 12 built-in controls in the SmartChip Human microRNA Panel V2 offer added quality assurance to the results.

Cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment are important potential clinical applications of microRNA profiling. MicroRNAs are small non-protein-coding single-stranded RNA molecules of 20-24 nucleotides in length that function as negative regulators of gene expression by targeting specific messenger RNAs. This either inhibits translation or promotes messenger RNA degradation.

The 5,184 SmartChip nano-well chip uses a small amount of biological material providing researchers the flexibility to query either a thousand genes in a single sample, or fewer genes on many samples, enabling a workflow from discovery to validation of biomarkers, with significant time and material cost savings. By applying Quantitative Real-Time PCR Expression Profiling, the SmartChip System combines the gene expression profiling throughput of microarrays with the sensitivity, precision and dynamic range of Real-Time PCR, the gold standard of gene expression studies.

About WaferGen and the SmartChip Real-Time PCR System

WaferGen Biosystems, Inc. is a leader in the development, manufacture and sale of state-of-the-art systems for genomic analysis for the life science and pharmaceutical industries.  The company currently offers the breakthrough SmartChip Real-Time PCR System, the next-generation Real-Time PCR system for discovery and validation of biomarkers, or gene expression patterns, on a single platform. WaferGen believes that the SmartChip System is ideal for researchers seeking to confirm discoveries made with the growing use of next-generation sequencing.  In addition, the high throughput capabilities of the SmartChip System enable researchers to extend their research across large panels of genes, and hundreds of samples, at a very reasonable cost.

Combined with next-generation chemistry and optimized assays being developed by WaferGen under the guidance of David Gelfand, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer and one of the pioneers of PCR, the SmartChip System is designed to provide accurate, highly sensitive and high-throughput gene expression profiling capabilities to researchers, clinicians and pharmaceutical companies.

In addition, the company offers an innovative fee-based service for gene-expression profiling using the SmartChip System.  For additional information, please see http://www.wafergen.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains certain "forward-looking statements".  Such statements include statements relating to the expected benefits and advantages of the SmartChip Human microRNA Panel V2, statements relating to the expanded market potential of the SmartChip System as a result of the SmartChip Human microRNA Panel V2, statements relating to the expected benefits and advantages of the SmartChip service for gene-expression research, statements relating to the expected benefits and advantages of the SmartChip technology to other applications, statements relating to the expected throughput levels of the SmartChip Real-Time PCR System, and other statements relating to future events are not historical facts, including statements which may be preceded by the words "intends," "may," "will," "plans," "expects," "anticipates," "projects," "predicts," "estimates," "aims," "believes," "hopes," "potential" or similar words.

Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, are based on certain assumptions and are subject to various known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the control of the company.  Actual results may differ materially from the expectations contained in the forward-looking statements.  Factors that may cause such differences include the risks that: (i) the company may be unsuccessful in commercially developing its products or in achieving market acceptance of new and relatively unproven technologies; (ii) the company will need to raise additional capital to meet its business requirements in the future and the company may not be able to do so on reasonable terms or at all; (iii) the company's proprietary intellectual property rights may not adequately protect its products and technologies; and (iv) the company expects intense competition in its target markets, including from companies that have much greater resources than the company, and there can be no assurance that the company will be able to compete effectively.  More detailed information about the company and the risk factors that may affect the realization of forward-looking statements is set forth in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009 and the most recent Form 10-Q.  Investors and security holders are urged to read this document free of charge on the SEC's web site at www.sec.gov.  The company does not undertake to publicly update or revise its forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Contact: WaferGen 510-651-4450

Don Huffman, CFO don.huffman@wafergen.com

Joyce Strand joyce.strand@wafergen.com

SOURCE WaferGen Biosystems, Inc.