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By Mark D. Uehling

March 17, 2004 | Through venture capital and a public offering, Gene Logic, based in Gaithersburg, Md., has raised more than $274 million over the past 10 years. But its records suggest that the road ahead for Ardais and Genomics Collaborative will not be easy. Gene Logic's revenue is rising, but the company has burned through at least $159 million.

Although best known for commercializing databases of tissue-specific gene-expression data, Gene Logic, like Ardais, also sells some of its tissue dotted into microarrays. Says Jeffrey Cossman, Gene Logic's vice president and medical director: "It's a question of how you gather those samples, so you can trust them when the data come out."

The company's system can record 400 different clinical attributes about the tissue donors, which is searchable by the company's proprietary GX 2.0 software. "Most of the major pharmaceutical companies subscribe to this," Cossman says. "They want access to the clinical samples we've been able to accumulate. They can take a target and say, 'Where else is it found in the body; where else it is active in the disease?' You can do that in a matter of minutes."

But Gene Logic has collected less than Ardais and Genomics Collaborative have assembled. Customers subscribing to its database have access to Affy gene-expression data and clinical records from 30,000 patients. Even so, Cossman says, the quality of the Gene Logic samples is so high that one of his former postdocs needed only minutes to retrace her own footsteps to trace out a tangled biochemical pathway — work that had taken her years to unravel in the lab.

Cossman says Gene Logic has never lost a major pharma customer. GlaxoSmithKline, for one, recently renewed its subscription, having used the Gene Logic database to increase the size of its pipeline by a factor of five. Says Cossman: "They have told us it's been essential to target discovery and validation."

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