By Randall Osborne

West Coast Editor

Gene Logic Inc. pulled down $15 million in financing for its new spin-off, MetriGenix Inc., which the company said would advance its Flow-thru Chip technology.

¿[The spin-off] has been in the works for about a year, and we¿re within six or eight months of launching a product,¿ said Andrew O¿Beirne, senior vice president of new ventures for Gene Logic, who was named president and CEO of MetriGenix.

¿There are two major formats,¿ he added. ¿One is a single cartridge, and the other is a 96-well format, for high-throughput screening. It¿s technology being spun off, really. Our research group is being turned into a company.¿ Financial terms were not disclosed.

Customers will include biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms, O¿Beirne said.

¿Obviously, a lot of universities are doing this kind of work, too,¿ he said, although the size of the market for Flow-thru Chip products is difficult to gauge.

¿That¿s any number you want to pick,¿ he told BioWorld Today. ¿I¿ve seen $7 billion down to $2 billion.¿

The spin-off is 54 percent owned by Gene Logic, of Gaithersburg, Md., and its product line will include custom and branded arrays. The first financing comes from a group of investment partners that consists of Oxford Bioscience Partners, of Boston; Burrill Biotechnology Capital Fund LP, of San Francisco; Infineon Ventures GmbH, of Munich, Germany; and GE Equity, of Stamford, Conn.

Starting with the fourth quarter of this year, Gene Logic expects to have no expenses associated with MetriGenix, and the spin-off won¿t affect its financial status otherwise, the company said.

¿We¿ll be in the same building until the end of the calendar year,¿ O¿Beirne said, at which point the number of employees will have reached about 30, and MetriGenix will move into its own site in Gaithersburg.

¿Gene Logic is in the information database business, and that¿s where it¿s going to stay,¿ O¿Beirne said. The company¿s stock (NASDAQ:GLGC) closed Thursday at $17.95, down 25 cents. n

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