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Startup Xanthon Cuts Staff in Half, Delays Release of Ultra-High Density Microarrays

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High-density microarray startup Xanthon is going to have to try to squeeze out more probes per chip with fewer people, after laying off half of its staff April 9th.

This round of layoffs brings the company’s total head count to 17 full-time employees and comes after 10 staffers were laid off in the fall.

Neil Moore, the company’s COO and interim CEO, told BioArray News the layoffs stemmed from a shortage of venture capital cash. The layoff “is really a reflection on the financing out there,” said Moore.

Xanthon, based in Research Triangle Park, NC, has raised over $24 million in private venture financing since its founding in 1996. Most recently, Xanthon won a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the United States Army worth roughly $70,000 to research the feasibility of developing a portable electrochemical DNA biosensor.

As a result of the layoffs, the company is delaying the launch of its flagship high-density electrochemical detection-based microarrays. “We haven’t fully evaluated the timing of the new launch,” said Moore. Meanwhile, Xanthon said it is continuing a collaboration with Duke University Chemistry professor Michael Pirrung and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Chemistry professor Holden Thorp, to research higher-density arrays. Pirrung and Thorp have been developing electrochemical detection methods for arrays that could enable the arrays to include up to 10 million electrodes per square centimeter.

— MMJ

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