NEW YORK, Oct 25 – Alexion Pharmaceuticals of Boston, Mass., has become the latest in a string of companies to enter the microarray market with its announcement on Wednesday that it planned to spin off a new company, Arradial.
The microarray assays Arradial will commercialize will be based on a technique invented by two Boston University scientists that use a miniturized robotic system to perform up to 100,000 nanoliter volume microassays per day, Alexion said.
Unlike the traditional 12 by eight chip, the Arradial microarrays are round with radially arranged silicon microwells — hence the company name.
“We realized there was enormous efficiency to be gained by going to a radial format,“ said Ashley Stevens, director of Boston University’s office of technology transfer. “It allows us to use CD technology, enables high volumes, and the mechanics are easier.”
Arradial is also developing a novel re-arrayer device that will universally couple macrodevices with microdevices, the company said.
Arradial, which is also in Boston, expects to close its seed round of venture capital financing this quarter. Alexion will become a minority equity shareholder in the new company and will have the right to a seat on its board of directors.
Boston University, whose electrical and computer engineering scientists Allyn Hubbard and Samesh Kale co-invented the microarrays, will also receive “a significant portion” of Arradial stoc k. Hubbard will serve as the chief scientist for the company.
" By forming a focused organization such as Arradial, we believe that our informatics and instrumentation platform will be more quickly developed for commercialization," said Leonard Bell, president and CEO of Alexion. " We are pleased that we have been able to attract superb management and such high levels of interest from the venture capital community.”
Alexion plans to use Arradial’s new microarray technology in antibody discovery at its recently formed San Diego subsidiary, Alexion Antibody Technologies.