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Luminex to Divest RBM Unit; Chandler Will Quit as CEO to Run Spinoff

NEW YORK, Aug. 14 - Luminex today said that President and CEO Mark Chandler intends to leave the company to head a spinoff based on Luminex's Rules-Based Medicine business.

 

Thomas Erickson, a professional interim president, will run Luminex while the company searches for a permanent replacement, Luminex said.

 

Created last winter, RBM hopes to develop an array of markers by using Luminex's xMap technology to map and measure proteins associated with various diseases. These markers can then be used to determine an individual's risk of those diseases.

 

"Since Luminex really doesn't need to be in the testing business it made sense to split this up," said Harriss Currie, a Luminex spokesperson. "Our board feels that [the RBM project is] not in line with our core competency ... and that conducting this research and building this [new] company would distract us from working on selling instruments and selling beads."

 

In fact, Luminex considered several options for the unit, Currie said. These included spinning it out to shareholders or selling the assets to a third party.

 

Spinning it out with Chandler at the helm "was the cleanest and easiest option to put an end to this," said Currie.

 

The fate of this new company, which does not yet have a name, is not fully sealed because Luminex and Chandler only signed a nonbinding letter of intent. However, Currie said he suspects the changeover will happen.

 

If it closes, the deal, for which a more definitive agreement will appear later this month, will permit Luminex to transfer all of the unit's assets and liabilities to the new company. Additionally, Luminex will receive a preferred stock- and common stock-equity interest in the new company. It also would get the right to license certain technologies to the new company.

 

It is not yet known how much a fully spun-off RBM company would cost to get off the ground, or in even where that money would come from, Currie said. The board is currently trying to figure that out, he added.

 

Also not known was how many staff Chandler plans to take with him from Luminex, and whether he will be hiring additional personnel any time soon. Currie said the unit as it stands today is "adequately staffed."

 

The RBM unit is currently based in Luminex's headquarters in Austin, Texas, but will likely move to a separate space once the business gains traction, Currie said.

 

When RBM was created, Currie said Luminex originally thought that it could stay in-house as a subsidiary company. "But there were a few management issues that [the idea] ran into," he said, declining to elaborate.

 

"RBM has always been an idea that Mark has had since the beginning that one can use the technology for this particular application," Currie said. "So this is something that he's been stumping for a long time.

 

"If Rules-Based Medicine is successful, Luminex should benefit from the sale of instruments as they perform their testing services," he added.

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