The first thermal cycler to start at under £1000 (€1400) is set to start a price war for this product, which has proved invaluable for amplification of nucleic acids.
The MultiGeneII unit is useful for applications such as enzymatic digestion, ligation, and other procedures that require incubation of small samples in a temperature-controlled environment.
EuroTech believes it now offers one of the most competitively priced thermal cyclers in Europe. Its compact design, weighing only 3.2kg, is supplied with either a 25x0.2ml or a 16x0.5ml block. Heating and cooling are accomplished electronically by reliable Peltier units providing a uniformity across the block of +/- 0.4C at 55°C ensuring all samples are exposed to the same temperature conditions.
The heating rate has been increased to 2.2°C/sec and the cooling rate up to 1.9°C/sec. The MultiGeneII is also supplied with a heated lid, which can be switched off for subambient applications.
The unit allows up to nine segments to be achieved. In addition to the standard parameters of time and temperature, the software allows for successive time and temperature increments and decrements (for touchdown amplification and auto-extension), auto-restart after power failure, end of cycling elongation steps and extended period soaks at 4°C.
Meanwhile, the rising popularity of microarrays in the US and European life science market acts as a complementary driver for real-time thermal cyclers, for example in the validation of microarray results using real-time PCR.
A report by Frost and Sullivan predicts that having notched up sales worth $252 million in 2001, the US and European market for real-time thermal cyclers is set to fetch combined revenues of $776 million by 2006.
The current market for thermal cyclers is saturated, presenting opportunities for companies that can offer a differentiated product package or a competitive price. German company, MWG and US drug discovery company Applied Biosystems are also main players in the thermal cycler market and will be taking note of EuroTech's price slash.