Expression Analysis is coming out of the incubation process pretty fast. So fast, in fact, that the startup now has its own chief executive officer.

Expression Analysis named Steve McPhail, who formerly served as executive vice president and chief operating officer at ArgoMed in Cary, as its chief executive officer on Thursday. The company, which provides genetic testing and analysis, is a spinout of Duke University and was operating under Donald Holzworth, president and CEO of Analytical Sciences, since it was formed in September of 2001.

The startup generated more than $1.8 million in sales in 2002 and is projected to hit $4 million in 2003. So the time was right, Holzworth decided, to put someone in control as CEO on a full-time basis.

“It was always our plan to hire a full-time CEO once the company achieved profitability and a strong customer base,” Holzworth told Local Tech Wire. “We began that search last summer.”

McPhail, who has worked at other biotech and life science firms such as Xanthon, TriPath Imaging, Dynex Technologies and Abbott Laboratories, cited several reasons for accepting the job.

“I suppose the people and the opportunity are what most influenced my
decision to come here. Expression Analysis has attracted some outstanding and very talented people,” he said. “From our Board of Directors to our Scientific Advisory Board to our management and employees, everyone in this organization is dedicated and completely committed to our vision and our success.

“The opportunity that we have is to continue to build on our current
track-record of success. Expression Analysis is recognized as the leader in high-quality microarray services, from research plan development to biologic sample preparation to sample processing and statistical analysis of complex microarray data.

“The services we provide are helping our clients advance
genomic discovery and ultimately bring critical new drugs to market to treat a variety of diseases. That is truly exciting!”

Tracking gene reaction

Microarray technology enables researchers to study the genome on a single chip, enabling them to better understand the interactions among thousands of genes simultaneously. Expression Analysis uses the Affymetrix GeneChip microarray technology from California-based Affymetrix, one of the few companies in the United States to do so. Affymetrix applies the same principles of semiconductor technology to life science research. Research from Duke University and Duke Medical Center triggered the creation of the company.

The company already has an impressive list of customers, including Schering-Plough, Repligen Corp., ISU Chemical and Duke University.

“Expression Analysis is unique for a variety of reasons. Most early-stage biotechnology companies are years away from revenues much less
profitability,” McPhail said. “Expression Analysis generated revenues of $1.8 million in its first full year of operations and was profitable to boot.

“We expect to more than double our revenue in 2003. After only 15 months in business, Expression Analysis is the leading provider of contract microarray testing services using the market leading Affymetrix GeneChip platform. The opportunity to drive adoption of this technology in late stage drug development through synergies with Analytical Sciences, Inc., also makes Expression Analysis unique.”

More hires planned

The company currently has 10 employees, but McPhail said he expected that number to double in coming months. He said he would be hiring laboratory, research and development, sales and marketing personnel.

Analytical Sciences has provided infrastructure support, such as information technology, finance, administration, human resources and corporate communications, McPhail said.

“This has allowed Expression Analysis to focus on building its business,” he added. “We are in the process of building out significant additional space in our current location, but as our business increases, it will become necessary for us to look for our own facilities.”

Steven Casey, founder of the company, will continue as chief operating officer.

“I feel privileged to work with a talented entrepreneur like Steve,” McPhail said. “I have the utmost respect for Steve and what he has accomplished with Expression Analysis to date. Steve will serve as Chief Operating Officer of the company and will play an integral role in the company’s future success.”

Holzworth becomes chairman of Expression Analysis and will remain CEO of Analytical Services.

“This change has no effect on my CEO role at Analytical Sciences other than giving me more time to focus on its growth,” he explained. “I am certainly not abandoning Expression Analysis. My second hat (my EA hat) has simply changed from that of the CEO to that of chairman.

“EA’s market opportunities are rapidly expanding, and it is a great feeling to have such a qualified CEO now executing our plans on a full-time basis.”

ASI is a health research organization with some 550 employees.

Expression Analysis: