Gambling on the fact that there was already a market looking for a solution, the team decided to develop a procedure to uncover the secrets held by very specific portions of DNA. Rather than making rough scans available to an elite of scientists, the idea was to aim for precision and to provide labs with the material necessary to make their own genetic analysis. The gamble paid off. Non-existent just five years ago, the DNA-sequencing market now has an estimate worth of one billion euro per year.
Main customers are hospitals, where clinical geneticists are using DNA-testing on large populations to understand the effects of diseases and medication on the human body. Some of FlexGen' s customers also specialise in personalised medicine a type of therapy born of the idea that treatments can be adapted to different people, based on their DNA profile. Another category of buyers, pharmacogenetic specialists, rely on the same idea taken to a larger scale: getting a range of products ready for a specific part of the population.
FlexGen is originally a spin-off of the Leiden University Medical Centre of the Netherlands. 'The first customers were the scientists of the university itself, who were looking for alternatives to the contracting third-party laboratories for the analysis of genetic material,' says Joop van Helvoort, FlexGen's Chief Scientific Officer. 'This took on average eight weeks!' After three years, once the technology was up and running, the company then needed to reinvent itself in order to increase its customer base.
Fred Dom joined the company as chief executive officer in 2007, with the objective of 'raising additional financing for FlexGen and pushing it onto the market'. He brought a new philosophy to the company. 'We were at first providing the same technology to whichever customer wanted it, but
|Contact: Piotr Pogorzelski|