Biochips provide massive parallelism and microscale functional integration, traits which promise to revolutionize drug discovery and functional genomics research.
Biochip technologies can be divided into oligonucleotide arrays (hybridization-based devices), labs-on-a-chip (separation-based devices) and hybrid devices incorporating both approaches.
Fledgling biochip companies have incorporated diverse business plans and models ranging from gene expression for drug discovery and development (e.g. Affymetrix and Incyte) to a pure emphasis on in vitro diagnostic applications (e.g. Cepheid and Micronics).
Large companies have shown recent signs of accelerated interest in biochip technology. Hewlett-Packard, Perkin-Elmer and Motorola are currently involved in significant system development collaborations.
This article includes information from International Business Communication’s Third Annual Microfabrication and Microfluidics conference, held August 6-7, 1998, in San Francisco, CA; its Massively Parallel DNA Analysis conference, held August 10-11, 1998, in San Francisco; and its Biochip Technologies conference, held June 22-24, 1998, in San Francisco.