From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Affy" redirects here. For the candy, see affy tapple. For the school, see Affies.
Affymetrix, Inc.
Type Public
Industry Bioinformatics
Founded 1992
Headquarters Santa Clara, California, U.S.
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, UK
Tokyo, Japan
Shanghai, China
Number of locations 13
Key people Stephen Fodor
Revenue Increase US$327 Million (FY 2009)[1]
Operating income Decrease US$-30.6 Million (FY 2009)[1]
Net income Decrease US$-23.9 Million (FY 2009)[1]
Total assets Decrease US$612 Million (FY 2009)[2]
Total equity Decrease US$288 Million (FY 2009)[2]
Employees 1,141[3]

Affymetrix, Inc. is an American company that manufactures DNA microarrays; it is based in Santa Clara, California, United States. The company was founded by Dr. Stephen Fodor in 1992. It began as a unit in Affymax N.V. in 1991 by Fodor's group, which had in the late 1980s developed methods for fabricating DNA microarrays, called "GeneChips" according to the Affymetrix trademark, using semiconductor manufacturing techniques. The company's first product, an HIV genotyping GeneChip, was introduced in 1994 and the company went public in 1996. As a result of its pioneering work and the ensuing popularity of microarray products, Affymetrix derives significant benefit from its patent portfolio in this area.

Acquisitions have included Genetic MicroSystems for slide-based microarrays and scanners,[4] Neomorphic for bioinformatics,[5] ParAllele Bioscience for custom SNP genotyping, USB/Anatrace for biochemical reagents,[6] and Panomics and True Materials to expand its offering of low to mid-plex applications.[7][8][9][10] In 2000, Perlegen Sciences spun out from Affymetrix to focus on wafer-scale genomics for massive data creation and collection required for characterizing population variance of genomic markers and expression for the drug discovery process.

Description of product[edit]

Example of two Affymetrix chips

Affymetrix makes quartz chips for analysis of DNA Microarrays called GeneChips. Affymetrix's GeneChips assist researchers in quickly scanning for the presence of particular genes in a biological sample. Within this area, Affymetrix is focused on oligonucleotide microarrays. These microarrays are used to determine which genes exist in a sample by detecting specific pieces of mRNA. A single chip can be used to do thousands of experiments in parallel. Chips can be used only once.

Affymetrix sells both mass-produced GeneChips intended to match scientifically important parts of human and other animal genomes. Affymetrix manufactures its GeneChips using photolithography. The company also manufactures machinery for high speed analysis of biological samples.

Affymetrix GeneChip Operating Software is a software system for managing Affymetrix microarray data.

Competitors in the DNA Microarray business include Illumina, GE Healthcare, Applied Biosystems, Beckman Coulter, Eppendorf Biochip Systems [1], and Agilent. There are also various inexpensive plastic-based technologies under development in small companies and laboratories around the world. It has been widely speculated that mass-produced plastic chips can be produced at lower prices than Affymetrix's quartz chips.

Licensing program and collaborative ventures[edit]

Affymetrix has established a licensing program to make its intellectual property accessible to stimulate the broad commercialization of genome analysis technologies. They have several collaboration relationships with other companies that utilize their patented GeneChip technology. This business model follows the earlier collaborative strategy implemented by Intel and Microsoft.

PathGen Dx Venture using Affymetrix Chip to Detect 70000 Human Pathogens in Parallel[edit]

PathGEN Dx, a Singapore based molecular diagnostics company founded by researchers from the Genome Institute of Singapore, has created an Affymetrix-based chip to simultaneously detect 70,000 different human pathogens (viruses. bacteria) from a single blood sample. [2], [3] This will allow for a systematic and comprehensive testing of a patient's blood for virtually all major human pathogens in a single rapid step.

Current alternatives for testing patients for infections (for example : bacterial culture, Gram staining, ad-hoc single immunoassays tend to be either slow, inaccurate or incomplete. It is typically heavily reliant on the physician's clinical suspicion leading to the ordering of individual tests that often can only detect one or a few pathogens, or broadly categorize the pathogen type. PathGen Dx's PathChip approach would check for and identify all major human pathogens with a single test -starting comprehensively with a small amount of blood. It then might rely on the clinician for clinical confirmation. Critics will argue that the Path Gen Dx PathChip's initial cost of over $400 is somewhat high. Additionally, it may result in a substantial number of false positive results, requiring costly additional testing. Proponents will argue that the current hand-crafted approach to diagnosis may delay or miss diagnoses - particularly of more obscure diseases. A missed or delayed diagnosis can cause far greater costs - both in terms of morbidity and mortality and in terms of extended hospital stays and unnecessary, inappropriate or potentially harmful initial empirical treatment. Affymetrix's partnership with PathGen Dx may significantly alter the speed and efficiency of diagnosis of infection in hospitals and clinics.

FDA Approved Affymetrix Chip to Diagnose Mental Disabilities in Babies in Parallel from Relevant Genetic Variations[edit]

"The Food and Drug Administration in January 2014 cleared a first-of-a-kind whole-genome postnatal blood test that can aid physicians in identifying the underlying genetic cause of developmental delay, intellectual disability, congenital anomalies, or dysmorphic features in children." This test, known as CytoScan Dx Assay, is designed to diagnose these disabilities earlier to expedite appropriate care and support. "About 2 to 3 percent of U.S. children have some sort of intellectual disability, according to the National Institutes of Health."

External links[edit]


  • "Affymetrix - Corporate History". Affymetrix. Archived from the original on 2006-11-07. Retrieved 2006-11-20.  Note: reference includes all child pages and documents of this page, inclusive. There is some contradiction in specific details of the founding of Affymetrix among documents found here.