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Predicant Biosciences Inc.

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Among proteomics experts, however, a split has emerged between those who believe protein profiling patterns, rather than proteins themselves, are important indicators of disease, and those who believe that the proteins need to be identified before they can be useful clinically. Predicant Biosciences is taking the side of the former group, and, supported by a top-notch group of scientists and venture capitalists, is developing an integrated system it hopes will move the field forward.

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VisionGate Inc.

In early 2001, after leaviing his post as executive chairman of TriPath Imaging, Alan Nelson founded VisionGate Inc., which is focused on developing a test for lung cancer screening. The technology he designed directly measures and quantifies structural changes in chromatin indicative of early-stage lung cancer, and uses proprietary optical microscopy that enables 3-D analysis. The result, he believes, is the first effective clinical screening test for this almost always fatal disease.

OncoMethylome Sciences SA

Epigenomics AG may be a big name in the small world of diagnostic start-ups these days because of its recent IPO, but two-year-old OncoMethylome Sciences SA believes it can give the older company stiff competition in the emerging field of DNA methylation-based cancer markers. The company is developing tests for early diagnosis of cancer and stratification of disease treatments, using highly sensitive, cost-effective DNA methylation technologies.

Cancer Diagnostics--Moving Forward, Slowly

After years of confusion and stagnation, the field of cancer biomarker diagnostics seems to be progressing, even as huge challenges remain. Investors are alert but cautious. The sheer volume of funding and attention devoted to proteomics and genomics, along with advances in research tools, have led to new approaches to looking for and developing assays. But with exception of Cytyc Corp., not a lot of successful cancer-oriented diagnostic role models exist for start-ups.

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