Our April 2001 cover story featured Lynx Therapeutics and its powerful yet undersubscribed MPSS application, based on Megaclone microbead technology. At the time, Lynx had no deals with big pharma, owing in part to the complexity of its product and its lack of marketing and PR departments.
In the year since, Lynx has signed agreements with AstraZeneca to use the Megaclone applications it calls Megatype and Megasort for a SNP-based asthma study as well as gene expression assays. French company UroGene contracted with Lynx to use Megasort to examine gene expression of different types of cancer. Meantime, Genomar, a Norwegian marine genomics company, and Anigenics, an American animal genomics company, signed on as well. Lynx also joined with the University of California, Davis, on an NSF-funded plant gene expression analysis, the results of which are to be made public. The company will also study HIV-related genes in a partnership with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
BASF-Lynx, a joint venture with the German chemical company that is now called Axaron Bioscience, renewed its existing Megaclone license through 2007. Lynx has also raised $11 million in cash from private investors, though at the beginning of this year GT’s sister publication BioArray News reported that Lynx’s cash burn rate was so high, the company could be broke as early as this month. To avoid that, Lynx raised another $2.5 million by selling its oligo technology to Geron.
The April ’01 issue also featured several international sequencing centers, many of which rely on Amersham Pharmacia Biotech’s MegaBace 1000 sequencer. Since then, AP Biotech morphed into Amersham Biosciences and developed the MegaBace 4000. The DOE’s Joint Genome Institute bought 21 of the new sequencers — and institute director Trevor Hawkins completed the circle by leaving to become the senior vice president of genomics at Amersham.