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Affy Subsidiary Perlegen Raises $100M in Private Financing

NEW YORK, April 2 – Affymetrix subsidiary Perlegen Sciences said Monday it had raised $100 million in financing from a group of institutional and individual investors.

Following the private placement, Affymetrix will own 52 percent of Perlegen, a company launched in October to apply Affymetrix’s GeneChip technology to the entire human genome.

“We will use these funds to scale up operations, uncover the patterns of human diversity, and apply this knowledge into the cause, cure, and prevention of disease,” Perlegen’s CEO Brad Margus, said in a statement. “With the completion of this financing, we now have the resources to understand the human genome at a new level.”

Lombard Odier & Cie and Affymetrix founder Alejandro Zaffaroni participated in the financing of Perlegen, a derivation of the Latin word “perlego,” which means “to scan.”  

Affymetrix is supplying Perlegen with ultra-high-density chip that have up to 60 million probes per wafer, 100 times more probes than those contained on the GeneChips. Perlegen will use the chips and the financing to scan 50 genomes at single base resolution and to begin building the infrastructure the company will need to associate genomics variations with disease.

"One technician running three wafers a day is equal to 100 automated sequencers," Affymetrix CEO Steve Fodor, has said, noting that the company could generate 1,000 assays per second.

Once the data has been generated, Perlegen will seek to develop partnerships with companies in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and food industries, and other companies that have an interest in associating genetics with a particular outcome.

The SNPs and haplotypes Perlegen finds will also be available to incorporate on Affymetrix chips.

David Cox, formerly co-director of Stanford University's Genome Center, is leading Perlegen’s scientific efforts.

On Monday, Affymetrix and Perlegen also announced that Perlegen has committed to purchase whole wafer DNA arrays that Affymetrix will exclusively supply to the spinoff. The companies also said that Affymetrix would supply Perlegen with certain administrative and support services.

Affymetrix added that it does not expect to consolidate Perlegen’s financial results.