Findini Outsourcing Partner: IMGM Laboratories

A perfect example of successful outsourcing to a customer-oriented full-service provider.

The following  quotation request was submitted via Findini: “Microarray-based gene expression analysis of 8 samples from cell culture that are split into 1 control group and 3 treated groups with 2 biological replicates each.”

Since there was no ready-to-use microarray available for the species of interest, we created a custom microarray using eArray, Agilent´s online microarray design platform. This tool allowed us to create arrays that were specific to the researcher’s needs while avoiding extra cost or a minimum number of arrays to be ordered.

Because it is not possible to perform meaningful statistics and obtain significant p-values using measurements based on just 2 samples per group, our quotation also included prices for 16 samples (4 samples per group). The customer accepted our proposal to adjust the number of samples, thus increasing the statistical power of the experiment. In addition, the array format of 8 samples per slide offered the best cost-benefit ratio.

Together with the quotation, we also provided an anonymized and shortened report of a previous gene expression microarray project which gave the customer a first impression on how samples are processed at IMGM and what can be expected from our standard bioinformatics services.

This complementary information convinced the customer to optimize the experimental layout of the project and the order was placed at IMGM:

“Thank you for providing this information to me. We were impressed with the detailed description of the services you provided so that we have decided to outsource our project to your company. We have also decided to change the experimental setup according to your suggestions to run 16 samples in total.” (Customer Quote)

Shortly after receiving the order, IMGM assigned a project manager to get in touch with the customer thus providing a personal contact person throughout the project. The project manager offered additional useful advice regarding proper sample collection and shipment, kept the customer informed on a regular basis and supervised the whole progress of the project

The next step was the design and ordering of the customized arrays, which was completed within one day, as usual.  During the following 4 weeks – while the custom-arrays were being produced at Agilent – the samples were prepared for downstream analysis (i.e.  RNA isolation, quality control and labeling).

After the custom arrays arrived at IMGM, the samples were hybridized and raw data were generated without any further delay.

In the following stage, data were normalized and biostatistically analyzed to identify regulated genes, and a thorough pathway analysis was carried out.

Finally, after a turn-around-time of 5 weeks, a detailed report was generated including a full description of all methods used and summarizing all data generated in the lab. This report also contained all quality measurements (e.g.  NanoDrop and Bioanalyzer results)

Subsequently, the report, together with all raw data generated, was submitted to the customer via a password-protected download from an IMGM-hosted secure server,  as a hardcopy and on DVD.


A few weeks later, an IMGM employee contacted the customer and asked him how satisfied he was with the service. This was the reply:

“IMGM was the first in responding to my findini inquiry and also turn-around-time was very competitive. The support by the IMGM team was very professional and enabled us to make the right decisions. Since we didn´t have that much experience with gene expression analysis, I had many concerns regarding the data evaluation, but the report I got was very detailed and easy to understand. I would definitely recommend IMGM!“