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Atairgin Finds Needed Room to Grow

September 12, 2000|MARC BALLON | Marc Ballon covers the biomedical and biotechnology industry for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-7439 and at

Atairgin Technologies Inc. is a company on the move--literally.

The health care technology company, which is developing blood tests to detect early-stage ovarian and breast cancers, vacated its digs in the Irvine Spectrum in late July and settled into offices three times the size at University Research Park. Its new headquarters features an R&D facility and has space to grow, Atairgin Chief Executive Patrick Walsh said. In the past 12 months, the company's staff has more than tripled to 30 employees.

Atairgin relocated last year to Orange County from Pullman, Wash., partly to be in a major metropolitan area where it could more easily find quality workers and strategic partners to help commercialize its products.

Venture capital firms Oakwood Medical Partners in St. Louis and Fremont Venture Partners in San Francisco, among other investors, recently poured $7.2 million into the business.

Atairgin has begun clinical trials on its ovarian cancer blood tests, which the company believes have great commercial potential. The company hopes to receive regulatory approval next year, Walsh said.

Ovarian cancer is one of the most lethal women's cancers, claiming the lives of an estimated 15,000 women annually, largely because the disease is often diagnosed at an advanced stage. At present, there exists no test that reveals the disease early, experts said.

Atairgin, which was started three years ago, has no products on the market or revenue.

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