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Competitive Analysis

Parallume optical encoding technology is the new choice in assay multiplexing and the advantages over the older organic dye-based polystyrene bead technology are numerous, unique and diverse.


If you would like to compare the features and benefits of the Parallume systems to other multiplexing platforms, please use this convenient Chart to compare and contrast the specifications of the Parallume platform to the others. Below the table is a more detailed discussion of the contrasting advantages.

Multiplex Platform Comparison Chart

Feature or Benefit


Brand “L” or Brand “A”




Price (underivitized)

20-plex assay = US $1.00

20-plex = ?$

Thousands of optical codes

Over 1010 optical codes statistically resolved

Number of codes resolved = ?

Beads stable to thermal cycling

No decomposition or leaching after 1 hr @ 98°C

% decomposed @ 98C 1hr = ?

Multiplex real time or end point PCR

Beads sealed in tube, never opened, measured in tube

PCR with in situ beads?

Lanthanide encoding instead of organic dyes

Absolutely no photobleaching gives stable codes

Photostability of code?

Free conjugation kit

Includes EDC and buffers

Free conjugation kits available?

Order online

Shopping cart with all prices shown

Shopping cart available with prices?

Beads needed to read each code

1 to 25 beads

How many beads needed per code?

Porous, high surface area

Higher sensitivity and larger dynamic range

Solid or porous beads?

Cross-linked agarose beads

Lower non-specific binding than polymer or glass

Less nonspecific binding than agarose?

Imaging Instrument (MARS)



Free beads with MARS purchase

Sufficient beads for 5,000 assays with purchase

5,000 free assays with instrument?

Use any color reporters

Use red, green, blue or IR reporters

Can R, G and B reporters be used?

Scheduled maintenance


What are the service and maintenance costs?

Instrument/software training time

Configure and run MARS within 15 min of setup

What is software/system learning curve?

Bead Handling



Bead Localization Slides (BLS)

Archivable 25mm x 75mm slide format; rescan possible

Is archivable storage or rescanning available?

Sample loading

Load arbitrary number of beads in 5 seconds

How much time for loading samples?

Sample size optimization

Works first time with no trial and error

Size optimization required?

Each bead in its own microwell

Eliminates bead-to-bead optical cross talk

How is optical cross talk eliminated?

Perform both assay and imaging in BLS

No sample transfer required

Run assay and image in same vessel?

Platform Royalties



Royalty on assays developed

Introductory rate of 0%

What is the assay royalty rate?

Platform or upfront royalties


What is the upfront royalty rate?




Custom multiplexing configurations

Can manufacture custom Parallume beads or MARS

Custom beads/instruments?

Conjugation of biocontent

Conjugate antibody or DNA to Parallume beads

Conjugation service available?

Parallume bead analysis service

Beads sent to Parallel for imaging and analysis

Imaging/analysis service available?

Free Parallume Beads

Free beads with purchase of scanning service

Free encoded beads available?

Technical Support

Free Technical Support

Free Technical Support available?

Hardware and Software

100% designed/manufactured in Santa Clara CA

Is the hardware/software  made in USA?


The Parallume bead’s stability toward PCR thermal cycling, autoclaving and freezing, thousands of optical codes available for multiplexing, ability to rescan samples indefinitely, permanent archival storage, automated data acquisition and analysis, compatible experimental workflows, biocompatible agarose bead formulations, single bead sensitivity, zero bead handling losses and a much lower cost per experiment – these are just a few of the advantages that Parallume encoded agarose beads provide compared to the organic dye-encoded polystyrene beads sometimes used for multiplexing assays.

The features, advantages and benefits of the Parallume multiplexing technology platform over other multiplexing technologies are numerous, substantial and unique. Some of these advantages are summarized below.

Assays Unique to Parallume In addition to the largest number of optical codes commercially available, there are many important and useful assays and reactions that can be performed with Parallume beads that are simply not possible with dyed polystyrene beads. Many of these reactions involve thermal cycling and PCR conditions which destroy the polystyrene beads.

Stable to PCR thermal cycling, autoclaving Decomposed
Clonal amplification on bead Decomposed
Real time PCR Decomposed
Denature double strand DNA at 98°C Decomposed

Archive Samples Unlike the polystyrene beads used for multiplexing experiments based on flow systems, which are discarded to waste after a single pass through the instrument, the Parallume encoded beads in Bead Localization Slides (BLS) may be rescanned or stored indefinitely with 0% loss of encoding signal intensity.

Rescan sample Not possible
Archive sample automatically Not possible
Confirm diagnoses Not possible
Retain samples for litigation Not possible

Bead Optical Properties The Parallume encoded agarose beads can support thousands of optical codes because of the narrow band rare earth emitters, cannot be photobleached and possess ratiometric optical codes which are independent of excitation source brightness or geometry.

Thousands of optical codes Few hundred optical codes
Any Reporter color may be used Few Reporter choices
Rare earth phosphors cannot be photobleached Rapid photodecomposition of organic dyes
Single excitation source for all emitters Separate excitation source for each emitter

Bead Chemical Properties The cross linked agarose Parallume encoded beads are far more stable than polystyrene beads and may be frozen, autoclaved and dehydrated with no effect and >80% of covalently bound DNA is retained on the beads after stirring 1 hour at 98°C.

The Parallume beads may be autoclaved Decomposed
Many surface functional group types available Limited selection
Low non-specific binding on agarose surface Unnatural, hydrophobic polystyrene
Single bead sensitivity Single bead studies not known

Maintenance and Consumables Unlike the polystyrene-based flow systems, the Parallume technology platform does not require large volumes of contaminated flow fluids that require constant purchase and disposal. The optical system in the MARS is permanently aligned and requires no factory maintenance.

Polystyrene/Flow System
No scheduled maintenance required Frequent alignment and service
No waste generated Large volumes of sheath fluid need disposal
No biological samples discarded in waste Biological samples in discarded sheath fluids
Optical system permanently aligned Critical alignment by factory technicians

Click here for more information about the advantages and benefits of Parallume Encoded Beads for multiplexing.