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Genetic products company, Affymetrix Inc. (AFFX - Analyst Report) entered into a major contract with UK Biobank, a long-term epidemiological study investigating complex human diseases affecting public health. The Axiom Genotyping Solution from Affymetrix will be used to generate superior-quality genotypes, which in turn will provide researchers with valuable data to study genetic factors in human diseases.

The UK BioBank has collected 500,000 DNA samples from UK residents between the age of 40 and 69 from 2006 till 2010. The aim of this large scale project is to improve the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, eye disorders, depression and forms of dementia.

The alliance with UK Biobank is in accordance with Affymetrix’s long-term strategy to expand its reach into the translational medicine market. The Axiom Genotyping Solution from Affymetrix is perfectly suitable for such large scale genotyping studies. Its flexibility and ability to produce a large amount of data in a cost effective manner has provided the solution with a competitive edge.

However, management does not expect any material gain from the contract in 2013 as it will start providing data at the end of the year. The major portion of revenues is expected to be generated in 2014.

Earlier in Nov 2012, the company had entered into a research and service partnership with South Africa-based Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research (CPGR) organization. The CPGR organization provided Affymetrix’s GeneTitan Multi-Channel (MC) Instrument along with customizable Axiom Genotyping Arrays to the African research community in order to advance high-throughput genomics research and personalized medicine studies in Africa.

Affymetrix is a leading provider of microarray-based products and services to the global research community. Along with Illumina (ILMN - Analyst Report), it is one of the two major providers of microarray technologies, primarily used in the field of genetic research. Affymetrix holds a leading position in the gene expression products and services market.

However, research and development spending by Affymetrix’s customers have fallen considerably due to a weak macroeconomic environment coupled with stringent government actions such as budget cuts.

The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Companies like Cleveland BioLabs and Cytokinetics (CYTK - Snapshot Report), both carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), are expected to do well in the Medical-Biomed/Gene industry.

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