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Perlegen Ceases Operations

This article has been updated to include a comment from Perlegen's CEO.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Perlegen Sciences, the privately held, Mountain View, Calif.-based pharmacogenomics and genotyping services firm, has ceased operations as of Oct. 30, 2009.

The firm's website has little information remaining on it, but lists as its current contact RoseRyan Inc., a Silicon Valley consulting firm, which a person familiar with the situation said is helping Perlegen close its operations.

Though company officials were not available to comment at the time this article was published, Perlegen CEO Bryan Walser subsequently confirmed to GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication Pharmacogenomics Reporter that the company did stop on-going operations at the end of October. He added, however, that the company "is continuing to meet its contractual obligations, and seeking partners to carry forward its various programs and assets as it winds up ongoing operations."

Perlegen, which was spun out of Affymetrix in 2001, had filed for an initial public offering of stock in early 2006, hoping to raise as much as $115 million. It withdrew that plan roughly a year later, saying that its lead underwriters advised the company to wait for "the outcome of certain genetic studies in connection with an important, ongoing research initiative." The company never went through with the IPO.

The last known round of funding for Perlegen came back in February 2005, when it raised $74 million from a private placement of Series D Preferred Stock. Several months later, Pfizer inked a collaboration with Perlegen and invested $50 million in the firm, giving it a 12 percent stake.

At the time of its IPO filing, Perlegen said that it was focused on developing and attempting to commercialize late-stage therapeutics as targeted therapies, coupled with related pharmacogenomic tests. But over the last couple of years, it had turned its focus on providing genotyping services while developing pharmacogenomic tests.

This past June, Perlegen received certification to operate its CLIA lab to begin commercializing its genetic tests, including its BrevaGen breast cancer risk test. Information regarding BrevaGen is still available on Perlegen's website, on which the firm states that it planned to "make the test available nationwide through breast centers and physician clinics by early 2010."

The status of that test, the CLIA lab, partnerships, and other Perlegen assets is unclear at this time.