<i>Tech across New England: </i>Bar Harbor BioTechnology uses genetic tools for disease research
Bar Harbor BioTechnology Inc.
Location: Trenton, Maine
Founded: October 2006
Top executive: Robert Phelps, CEO
Bar Harbor BioTechnology is a manufacturer of tests used in pharmaceutical research. It is an emerging contract research organization, and has its eyes on becoming a diagnostics company. The maker of the co-called StellARrayT Gene Expression System markets the genetic tests through an exclusive sales agreement with Lonza Corp. These tools allow genetic researchers to measure and compare gene expression levels across time and populations - gene over-expression or under-expession is thought to be the culprit in many different diseases and gene copy number variations. Bar Harbor plans to increase the services part of the business to 40 percent of revenue, from the current 15 percent. The company has raised $2.5 million in a series A round of venture and angel investments. The company will seek a Series B round of financing this fall, to support the development of a new diagnostics division.
From the top, CEO Robert Phelps: “We are developing diagnostic tests for a variety of diseases, in oncology, metabolic disease like diabetes, and auto-immune diseases like Lupus. The tests can tell a patient the likelihood of developing the disease, the potential severity of the disease, and even give some insight into the time of onset of the disease.” Phelps said the first step would be to sell the tests to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, but he said the company’s ultimate goal is actually to perform the genetic tests for physicians who order them for their patients.