NEW YORK, June 22 - Rubicon Genomics' new CEO, Thomas Collet, told GenomeWeb Friday that he hopes to target his startup's SNP scoring technology towards applications in personalized medicine.
Collet joined Rubicon, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based developer of DNA amplification technology, from Tullis-Dickerson, a healthcare venture fund in Ann Arbor where he was general partner. Prior to that, Collet served as vice president for business development at Integrated Protein Technologies, a unit of Monsanto. Collet also worked as a consultant to pharmaceutical and healthcare companies at McKinsey.
Until Collet joined the company, John Langmore, a co-founder of Rubicon Genomics on leave from the biophysics department of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, served as acting CEO. Langmore founded the company in 1998 along with Vladimir Makarov, a scientist formerly with the Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology in Moscow.
Rubicon specializes in developing alternatives to PCR for amplifying DNA sequences and identifying SNPs. The company's technology, called OmniPlex, involves reformatting chromosomes into new molecules called plexisomes that are more easily amplified and manipulated, the company said in a statement. The technology may ultimately have applications in personalized medicine, Collet said.
To reformat the chromosomes, Rubicon uses an enzymatic reaction called Nick Translation that breaks down the DNA into discrete strands of equal length. DNA in this format can be easily searched for multiple SNPs, Collet said, and the technology could allow Rubicon to offer SNP scoring services at less than one cent per SNP.
The company has demonstrated that the technique works in E. coli , and is currently working with an unnamed collaborator to sequence microbial genomes using the technology, Collet said. Within three years, Rubicon hopes to have developed applications for the technology in personalized medicine, such as searching a patient's genome for up to 100,000 different SNPs simultaneously.
The company also said Friday that the US Patent and Trademark Office had issued a patent on the company's OmniPlex technology.Rubicon received $1.75 million in venture funding in May of 2000, and just received an additional $1.9 million from the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor, a state initiative to redistribute settlements from tobacco lawsuits to life science businesses, Collet said. The company hopes to see revenue from research services collaborations by the end of the year, and from personalized medicine services sometime in 2002.