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Arrayit Establishes Diagnostics Subsidiary in Houston


This story has been updated from an earlier version to include comments from Arrayit President Mark Schena.

By Justin Petrone

Arrayit said last week that it has set up a diagnostics subsidiary in Houston that will eventually commercialize several array-based tests for cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and other disorders.

The subsidiary, called Arrayit Diagnostics, will use its parent's chip platform to identify genomic and proteomic biomarkers for specific diseases with the aim of making early-stage diagnoses.

John Howell, formerly vice president of administration at Arrayit, has been named president and CEO of Arrayit Diagnostics.

President Mark Schena told BioArray News this week that Arrayit decided to locate its diagnostics subsidiary in Houston because it is a "major market" and home to institutions like MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Texas Medical Center.

"The health care focus of Houston, coupled with the progressive financial establishment and the technological excellence of the state of Texas, made Houston a natural choice for the Arrayit Diagnostics headquarters," Schena said.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Arrayit said that it is already supported by a network of 41 life-science and diagnostics distributors located in 38 countries. It said that it will use these resources to expand its worldwide customer base of 10,000 research labs to "become a significant global diagnostics company."

Since going public earlier this year, Arrayit has discussed its desire to move into the molecular diagnostics market. "There is a very large opportunity for Arrayit to participate in moving arrays from research into clinical diagnostic use," CEO Rene Schena told BioArray News in May. "That is one of our main focuses as a public company" (see BAN 5/12/2009).

Arrayit is involved in several collaborations that could eventually enable it to identify clinically relevant biomarkers. In April, Arrayit announced a partnership with researchers in the neurodegenerative division of the Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center, also located in Sunnyvale. The institute researchers will use Arrayit's Human Genome H25K array to look for biomarkers linked to Parkinson's disease (see BAN 4/14/2009).