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Houston Advanced Research Center

Latest From Houston Advanced Research Center

Nanogen Stakes A Shape-Shifting Market

Newly abundant genomic data is driving formation of all sorts of technology-based businesses. But markets for new tools are already chaotic and competitive, in part because customers know they've got many choices. Nanogen is in the thick of it. Pharmaceutical researchers weren't so interested in the firm's low-density gene chips, so the firm is now focusing on the clinical diagnostics market where managers believe flexible, accurate NanoChips will be better appreciated. The trouble is, the long-foretold market for molecular diagnostics still barely exists. On one hand, market immaturity spells opportunity for Nanogen as an early entrant, but it also means the company has to bushwhack a new path for its technology. It's not easy. For now, Nanogen is marketing its system to researchers in clinical diagnostic labs, university hospitals and government institutions-scientists at the cutting edge, who may become key content developers. The firm is also working to better serve drug makers. The company's customers display little loyalty yet: they're eager to try other new technologies too. Nanogen is betting that the superiority of its system will win hearts and minds as the market for molecular diagnostics takes shape.
BioPharmaceutical Medical Device

Selected Start-Ups (01/01)

In Vivo summarizes the technologies of several recently founded companies: Advanced BioChem Inc. provides contract protein biochemistry, immunoassay and proteomics services to companies developing pharmaceuticals and medical diagnostics tests. Arradial Inc. aims to accelerate the discovery and validation of therapeutic compounds with a personal desktop laboratory microarray screening system created jointly by Boston University and Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. Spun out of Evotec BioSystems AG, Direvo Biotech AG will use its directed evolution platform to optimize biomolecules for industrial applications, as well as to develop proteins for novel therapeutics. Evacyte Microarray Diagnostics Corp.'s new cancer detection device, the Optical Stretcher, uses laser beams to stretch individual cells, enabling doctors to extract very small samples to determine if cancer cells are present. Palumed SA is developing small molecule drugs for the treatment of malaria and other infectious diseases. Using technology developed by its founders at the University of Texas' MD Anderson Cancer Center and in collaboration with Tripos Inc., Signase Inc. will develop small-molecule inhibitors of protein tyrosine kinases to enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy directed at various types of solid tumors.
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