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Rubicon crosses the chromosome

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SNP scoring on the cheap. Personalized medicine. If nothing else, startup Rubicon Genomics has the industry buzzwords down pat.

The Ann Arbor, Mich., company, based on PCR-alternative DNA amplification technology, was founded in 1998 by Vladimir Makarov and John Langmore. Rubicon also focuses on identifying SNPs — and new CEO Thomas Collet, who came from healthcare venture fund Tullis-Dickerson, says he hopes to target its SNP scoring technology toward applications in personalized medicine.

Rubicon uses an enzymatic reaction to reformat chromosomes, breaking down DNA into separate strands of equal length. Collet says it’s easier to search for many SNPs at a time in the treated DNA, making the overall cost less than that of some competitors.

According to the company, the technique has proven successful in E. coli, and a current project involves sequencing microbial genomes with a collaborator.

— John S. MacNeil