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LaunchCyte Sees Riches in Diamond Chip


The future of Morewood Molecular rests in the hands of University of Pennsylvania professor Scott Diamond. That’s because the new company, created by bioinformatics incubator LaunchCyte, is formed around the biochip technology Diamond designed in his lab.

But can one technology sustain a company? Sure, says LaunchCyte CEO Tom Petzinger, when it’s as versatile as Diamond’s device. Dubbed a “mega-ultra-high-throughput screening technique” by its inventor, the technology measures thousands of enzyme activities using a dense array of sensing elements on a chip, letting researchers study different substances such as enzymes, activators, or inhibitors simultaneously and at a faster rate. Diamond designed his device to enhance high-throughput screening. “You want to do [HTS]?” he asks. “Do it in two days, no problem, for much less of a financial commitment.”

Petzinger is currently in the process of recruiting Morewood’s management team and documenting how the technology performs for quality control. In terms of the future, Petzinger said he may expand Morewood, perhaps acquiring other technologies that measure enzyme activity. And he expects to take the company in the best direction possible, whether that means going public, standing alone, or being acquired by a larger group. Regardless, both Petzinger and Diamond have no doubt in the viability of this technology. “It’s worth forming a company around,” Petzinger says.

— Alison McCook


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