After burning through at least $7.5 million in venture funding, Decision Biomarkers Inc. is planning a going-out-of-business fire sale.
Creditors of the Waltham, Mass.-based company — which had been working to commercialize protein biomarkers for the drug industry and clinical diagnostics — will meet Jan. 20 in downtown Boston to begin the process of divvying up its remaining assets. That likely will be tough duty, with company officials estimating in a recent Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing that the firm has less than $50,000 in available assets for over $1 million in liabilities.
A Chapter 7 filing typically presages a business liquidation, compared with the more common Chapter 11 restructuring of debt. The company‘s Dec. 22 bankruptcy filing lists 90 separate creditors, ranging from former executives and investors to laboratory suppliers such as Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE:TMO), PerkinElmer (NYSE:PKE) and Millipore Corp. (NYSE:MIL). Decision Biomarkers didn’t reveal how much is owed to individual creditors.
In a statement on the Decision Biomarkers website, company officials indicated they were in talks with several firms interested in its technology, adding they were “hopeful the business will be reconstituted in the near future.” The company held three U.S. patents, the most recent assigned in July, 2008, when it shut down.
Launched in 2003 as Clinical MicroArrays Inc., Decision Biomarkers debuted the Avantra biomarker workstation in early 2008, billing it as a first-in-market device allowing non-specialized technicians to perform complex protein analysis. The key component to Advantra is a plastic-covered biochip containing detector antibodies and fluorescent dye markers that “glow” when the detector molecules bind with selected proteins.
Results are returned in about one hour and can be used to identify a standard set of proteins or custom-tailored to identify a specific disease or condition. Privately held Decision Biomarkers did not disclose unit sales or revenues for the Avantra, which sold for about $40,000 each, according to an December 2007 article in GenomeWeb, an online trade journal.
In October, 2005, Decision Biomarkers drummed up $7.5 million in venture capital funding in a Series A round led by Boston-based Oxford BioScience Partners. Fletcher Spaght Venture Partners and Rock Maple Ventures, both also based in Boston, also took stakes in the firm. Board chairman and company co-founder Jean Montagu, a well-known inventor and entrepreneur living in Brookline, Mass., organized a group of individual investors for the round as well.