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Perlegen Eyes First-Half '09 Launch of Breast Cancer Dx Panel

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Perlegen Sciences intends to release its first diagnostic product, which is focused on stratifying risk and diagnosing breast cancer, during the first half of 2009, CEO Bryan Walser said on Thursday at the UBS Global Life Sciences Conference here.
The panel will contain eight single nucleotide polymorphisms, five of which are exclusive to Perlegen. The firm believes that its panel will have utility in both risk stratification as well as helping to guide treatment selection after diagnosis.
It would compete with Myriad Genetics’ BRACAnalysis test in identifying patients at increased risk. In post-diagnosis use, the panel would compete against a variety of molecular tests, such as Genomic Health’s Oncotype Dx, Agendia’s MammaPrint, and the Molecular Profiling Institute’s MammoStrat.
Perlegen believes that its panel will provide novel and more comprehensive information than the other breast cancer tests already on the market at a fraction of the cost — several hundreds of dollars versus a few thousand dollars for some of the other competing products, according to Walser.
He also noted that the firm is currently negotiating the possible acquisition of a CLIA-certified lab that would offer the breast cancer panel, as well as follow-on assays currently in development. If Perlegen does not go through with the acquisition, Walser said that it would likely seek a lab partner, and he did not discount the possibility of an alliance with Affymetrix Clinical Services Laboratory, the CLIA lab of Affy. Perlegen is a spin-out of Affymetrix, and Affy Chairman and CEO Steve Fodor also serves as chairman of the company.
In addition to the breast cancer panel, Perlegen has a variety of SNP-based diagnostic programs in development for women’s health, cardiovascular, type II diabetes, and hepatitis C testing.
The privately held firm is currently lining up investors for a Series E round of financing. Walser said that Perlegen does not have a lead investor for the round yet, but he noted that Pfizer and Affy — both previous investors — have expressed an interest in participating in the round. He said the firm hopes to raise between $20 million and $30 million.
Perlegen’s last round of private funding came in late 2005. In that round, Pfizer invested $50 million in the company in exchange for a 12 percent stake.

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