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Luminex Wraps Up RBM Spinoff; Chandler Moves On

NEW YORK, Sept. 9 - Luminex today said it has finished folding its Rules-Based Medicine project into a newly created company. The deal, announced last month, frees the Texas-based company to concentrate on selling its instruments and bead technology.

 

Luminex President and CEO Mark Chandler has left the company to head the spinoff, which does not yet have a name. Thomas Erickson, a professional interim president, will run Luminex while the company searches for a permanent replacement, the company said.

 

By selling its RBM project Luminex received a $4.4 million equity stake and a 10 percent common-stock interest in the new company. Luminex also said it will pocket undisclosed royalties for any products the new firm commercializes using Luminex's xMap technology, on which RBM is based. Luminex will also count as revenue whatever microspheres and instruments it sells to the new company.

 

As GenomeWeb reported, RBM, created last winter, was designed to develop an array of markers by using the 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," Harriss Currie, a Luminex spokesperson, said last month. "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 had 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.

  

To be sure, Luminex does not know 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 had 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 had said the unit as it stands today is "adequately staffed."

 

Officials at Luminex, which is based in Austin, Texas, were not immediately available for comment at deadline.

 

The RBM unit is currently based in Luminex's headquarters in Austin 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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