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Omixon Sets Up Shop on US East Coast

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NEWYORK (GenomeWeb) – Hungarian bioinformatics company Omixon said this week that it has opened an office in Cambridge, Mass. and raised an undisclosed amount of money that it will use to establish and grow its US-based sales, support, and product training team.

The fundraising round was led by Euroventures, a European private equity and venture capital firm, and includes investments from Attila Varkonyi and Marton Szoke — all three have invested in the company previously. The company's new office will be in the Cambridge Innovation Center and will be led by Peter Meintjes who has been hired as director of US operations. He joins Omixon after working for four years at New Zealand-based bioinformatics firm Biomatters, where he was vice president of business development.

Commenting on Omixon's new office, Meintjes said in a statement that "with the hub of biotechnology innovation centered around Massachusetts … the [Cambridge] location was a clear first choice for Omixon." He further noted that "a presence in the US will be increasingly important to Omixon, as we reach additional key milestones through 2014."

Meintjes declined to provide exact details to BioInform about what those milestones are, but he did say that the company expects to benefit from the increasing adoption by clinical laboratories of next-generation sequencing-based assays for human leukocyte antigen typing — these assays complement existing methods such as sequence-specific oligonucleotide, sequence-specific primer, and Sanger sequencing. Furthermore, Omixon's software is designed specifically for handling NGS data, unlike similar solutions developed and sold by companies such as GenDx and Conexio whose tools were originally developed for formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded and Sanger-based tests, he said.

In addition to raising investment capital, Omixon was one of several companies tapped to participate in the first phase of a Small Business Research Initiative competition funded by the Department of Health and managed by Genomics England. The competition is aimed at developing technologies for analyzing and interpreting sequence data from the 100K Genomes Project. Tim Hague, Omixon's CEO, said in a statement that these funds would enable Omixon "further develop and validate its … HLA genotyping capabilities from whole genome data." At the moment, the company isn't disclosing exact details about what it is developing for the competition.

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