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Xceed launches Strategic Collaborator program
WELLESLEY, Mass.-Xceed Molecular, a developer of gene-expression analysis systems, launched its Strategic Collaborator program in late November and announced the signing of its first member, the Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM), of Grand Rapids, Mich. Specific terms were not disclosed and no other collaborators have yet been named, although Xceed reports it has already committed to several other institutions under its Strategic Collaborator program, with a goal to have 10 Strategic Collaborator agreements in North America by the second quarter of 2008.
Through the collaborator program, Xceed will provide its Ziplex System or Expression Services to each collaborator at no or low cost in return for a commitment for future publication, access to biomarker content, or assistance with product development or services.
As described by David Deems, Xceed's president and CEO, the Strategic Collaborator program is "a mutually beneficial agreement with a high-profile institution or investigator designed to propel the partners' clinical research, while providing Xceed with additional real-world clinical-laboratory experience and access to critical research results."
The program is said to be an integral part of the company's strategy to add assays to its pipeline of condition- or pathway-specific Signature Chips that will be available both as catalog products and through Xceed's Expression Services.
"We are very pleased to be supporting Xceed's efforts to bring its clinical laboratory-friendly Ziplex System to the marketplace," says Dr. Daniel H. Farkas, executive director of CMM. "The intersection of patient care and business represented by our international collaboration is central to the mission of the Center for Molecular Medicine."
Farkas also notes that as a CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited laboratory, the CMM will be a big help in Xceed bringing new array-based tests to the clinical community-and he notes that the ease of use and initial data generated by the Ziplex System have been impressive.
"As translational medicine moves from the research laboratory to the clinic, technology that is affordable, reliable, and automated will be critical," Farkas says. "We believe the Ziplex System is uniquely positioned to fulfill this need."
Since late 2006, after changing its name from MetriGenix, Xceed has been transitioning from a development-stage company to one focused on concrete products and solutions for multiplexed gene expression tests for in vitro diagnostics. Although clinical diagnostics is a big focus for the company now, Deems points out that many of the organizations that will be joining the collaborator network are engaged in lab work for and other kinds of work with pharmaceutical companies that are engaged in drug discovery and development, so he sees benefits of the program extending to that market as well.
"In general, the market for multiplex testing is very dynamic and this new program will help us serve it better," Deems says. "Getting our technology to be even more robust and reproducible in the gene expression arena is a critical part of our strategic and commercialization plans going forward. To that end, the profile of our potential collaboration partners consists of companies that see gene expression as being a critical driver of the market in the next few years-and CMM is representative of those kinds of thought leaders we are seeking out."