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Target Discovery Raises $4.6M, Atlantic Acquires Merrimack, CombiMatrix to Develop Semiconductor Biochips

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Target Discovery has raised $4.6 million in private funds to support the development and demonstration of its protein separation and identification technology, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said last week.

The company, founded in 1999 by two scientists with backgrounds in chemical engineering, has developed multi-dimensional capillary electrophoresis and protein sequence tag identification technology for applications in differential proteomics. The company’s largest investor, Clayton Struve, is CEO of CSS, a securities trading firm in Chicago, and serves on the company’s board of directors.

 

Atlantic BioPharmaceuticals Acquires Merrimack Pharmaceuticals

 

Atlantic BioPharmaceuticals has closed on its acquisition of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge, Mass.-based drug discovery company founded by Gavin MacBeath and other researchers from MIT and Harvard University, the companies said last week.

Merrimack’s technology is based on protein microarray and cellular assay research conducted in the academic labs of MacBeath and Peter Sorger, a co-founder at MIT. Merrimack has an orphan drug for myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disease, that will enter Phase I clinical trials in 2002, the company said.

The new company, which was formed in an all-stock transaction, will take Merrimack’s name. Robert Mulroy, CEO of Atlantic, will lead the new company as president and CEO. “The combination with [Atlantic] provides us with the management experience, clinical guidance, and resources needed to apply our platform most effectively to the process of drug discovery,” MacBeath said in a statement.

 

CombiMatrix Wins SBIR Grant to Develop Semiconductor Biochips

 

The NIH has awarded CombiMatrix a Phase I grant to develop its protein biochip technology, the Mukilteo, Wash.-based company said last week.

CombiMatrix, a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation, is developing a semiconductor-based platform for immobilizing proteins and other biological molecules to electrodes on the surface of a credit card-sized cassette. Although the company plans to expand into arrays of proteins and small molecules, its first product will contain customized arrays of DNA molecules.