Altogen Inc. started in Las Vegas, Nevada, and had an initial focus on chemical means of delivering nucleic acids into cells. This contrasts with viral-mediated delivery, which uses viruses to deliver compounds into cells. Altogen began by focusing on liposome based transfection reagents, and continued its research activities to tailor the specific formulation of the reagent to certain transfection applications; depending on the length of DNA or RNA to be transfected, the size of the liposomes was adjusted, and concentrations were optimized. The company continued to expand operations until it began manufacturing reagents that were specific to many cell types and transfection techniques. The different cell types, such as primary cells, differed in their competency with given chemical transfection reagents, and required additional research before high transfection efficiency could be reached.
The company has maintained a large variety of transfection reagents optimized for certain cell types. Many of the company's transfection reagents are based on different transfection techniques such as:
- Liposome Encapsulation, which uses liposomes to encapsulate transfected compounds, requires the liposomes to be diluted in special buffers.
- Nanoparticles, which are microscopic compounds that attach to nucleic acids, can be used to bypass the cell membrane and deliver transfected compounds into cells.
PEGylated structures and lipids use PEGylation to have nucleic acids go through the cell membrane through the attachment of certain markers.
Altogen Inc. also provides contract research services for siRNA screening and lab-based assays of novel drugs. The company has a GLP-compliant laboratory that can also be used for RNAi research and experiments.