ThirdWave Pushes for Parity
Third Wave Technologies wants its Invader technology to be as ubiquitous as PCR. Since a deal with potential buyer Applera fell through two years ago, the company has begun several high-profile collaborations, including one with the Japanese SNP initiative, which now accounts for 50% of revenues. Its efforts appear to be paying off, but the company is fighting an uphill battle in an intensely competitive field.
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The late 1990s genomics implosion spurred many genomics tools companies focusing on research laboratories to re-direct their attention to the clinic. The expectation was that innovative diagnostic tests and analytic platforms could do for them what collapsing research markets couldn't. Among those hit hard was Third Wave Technologies Inc., which was forced to re-evaluate its priorities and step up the pace of its commercialization timetable, while reducing emphasis on research. TWT's struggles are similar to those of other genomics companies facing the same tough environment, but its story is also universally applicable to medical device startups, which start with a strong scientific orientation and, often painfully, need to make business their major priority.
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