[caption id="attachment_37107" align="alignleft" width="324" caption="A Eurofins technician loads a genome analyzer with plates filled with 96 DNA samples each "][/caption]

PETALUMA -- Eurofins Scientific has added a new DNA sequencing facility to its laboratory in Petaluma.

Headquartered in Belgium, Eurofins is an international provider of bioanalysis services and products for academic and industrial laboratories worldwide. It’s main U.S. genetic sequencing center is in Huntsville, Ala.

Eurofins has operated a lab in Petaluma for years, serving Bay Area customers with analysis of dietary supplements and natural products.

According to Helaman Escobar, vice president of services for Eurofins, strong growth in demand for DNA sequencing services necessitated expansion of the company’s DNA sequencing capacity.

"After careful consideration, we chose to expand into the Bay Area to better serve our customers in the West. This new facility will not only increase our daily DNA sequencing capacity, but will also bring us closer to a key area of the country so that we can provide faster turnaround times," he said.

[caption id="attachment_37108" align="alignright" width="259" caption="Sequencing technology takes place in a row of thermocyclers and analyzers read the results of the chemical reactions"][/caption]

Initially the Petaluma facility will be operated by two or three employees and share a building with sister company, Eurofins Scientific Supplement Analysis Center, according to spokesman Paul Brown.

As the operation grows, more staff will be added, he said.

Setting up a new facility within another Eurofins laboratory operation was advantageous because the infrastructure and quality standards were already in place, according to Mr. Escobar.

Bay Area customers are universities, pharmaceutical developers and genomic research labs investigating a broad range of subjects from biofuel development, to biodiversity of animal species, to human therapies, said Mr. Brown

Eurofins has over $1 billion in annual revenues and 9,500 employees across 150 sites in 30 countries. Although the company does not disclose numbers of employees at a particular site, the facility at 1365 Redwood Way in Petaluma is thought to have a dozen to 20 workers.