UgenTec, Hasselt, Belgium, and Hamilton Robotics, Reno, Nev, have founded a network dubbed the Molecular Automation Network, which aims to facilitate business and technical information exchange among manufacturers of automated liquid-handling workstations, diagnostics, real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) devices, and software. The network will provide laboratories with more-encompassing solutions to their automation problems by creating collaborations among industry leaders.

Hamilton Robotics and UgenTec plan to collaborate on new business opportunities, exchange technical expertise, and integrate existing software and hardware systems.

“UgenTec is well on its way to becoming the golden standard of quantitative PCR (qPCR) workflow software with their platform FastFinder,” says Guido Meneghini, international sales director at Hamilton Robotics. “Their software expertise and existing partnerships with molecular diagnostics companies will enable us to consolidate our position in molecular diagnostics. We are excited to be the first company to join the Molecular Automation Network and look forward to building more durable partnerships.”

“Hamilton’s automated technologies have a proven track record of success,” says Steven Verhoeven, chief executive officer at UgenTec. “It’s great to have a company such as theirs vouch for our new initiative. Diagnostic companies are experiencing significant hurdles in adding PCR assays to existing and regulated PCR platforms, and even more in fully automating the end-customers’ laboratory workflow.”

Verhoeven says he anticipates that many other assay, device, and hardware providers will have an interest in joining the network. “With our partners, we will be able to provide molecular laboratories with flexible and extensible end-to-end automation solutions for qPCR testing,” he adds.