National Cancer Institute Fast Tracks Gene-Analysis Platform

Compendia Bioscience, an Ann Arbor, MI, company focused on oncology drug development, has received a $2.4 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Fast Track Award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The money will go toward commercialization of the company’s flagship product, Oncomine, an online platform that performs cancer gene-expression analysis.

Oncomine aggregates cancer profiling data so that target expression across a large volume of cancer types, subtypes, and experiments can be assessed online in seconds. This enables users to discover and prioritize potential cancer targets and biomarkers, improving efficiency, strengthening product pipelines and increasing the likelihood of success. The system’s analysis engine pre-computes gene expression signatures, clusters and gene set modules to allow scientists to focus on discovery.

The Fast-Track application process expedites award decisions and funding of SBIR Phase II applications for scientifically meritorious projects that have a high potential for commercialization. In addition, it allows Phase I and II grant applications to be submitted and reviewed together.

Oncomine was developed by physicians, scientists, and software engineers at the University of Michigan. Compendia was founded in February 2006, when it licensed Oncomine and related technologies from the university.

With the announcement of NCI funding, one of the company’s founders, Dan Rhodes, will take on the CEO role; he also will serve as the principal investigator on the Oncomine project. Compendia’s current CEO, John Freshley, will remain with the company as chief business officer, overseeing sales, marketing and corporate development.

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