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Summary:

Halcyon Molecular, one of the many companies that was working on low cost DNA sequencing technologies has quietly ceased operations, mostly because of lack of funds, our sources tell us. The company had raised upwards of $20 million in funding from Founders Fund, Elon Musk and others.

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Halcyon Molecular, a much-talked about genetics startup that was started by Andregg Brothers – William and Michael in 2008 has quietly gone away. It is not clear if the company has shut down – the web site exists – but sources familiar with the Redwood City, Calif.-based company say that it ran out of money. Its investors included Peter Thiel’s Founder’s Fund and maverick investor/entrepreneur Elon Musk. In its life, the company had snagged upwards of $20 million in funding. I am awaiting comment from Founders Found and Musk.

It is a bit of a bummer since I always root for such startups whose foundation is pure technology and whose ambition to change the future. In 2009, when Founders Fund partner Luke Nosek joined Halcyon, in an email he noted that the company would one day it would be able to “sequence 100 percent complete human genome in less than ten minutes for less that $100.”

Earlier this year Oxford Nanopore team had beaten Halcyon to the punch. It was one of the companies that was working on low cost DNA sequencing technologies and it is one of the reasons why I kept tabs on the company. The company listing recently went missing on the Founders Found website. Here is an article from The Independent from last year that highlights company’s plans and ambitions – it is worth reading.

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  1. Reblogged this on txwikinger's blog.

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  2. William and Michael Andregg (Halcyon Molecular) plagiaristically used
    Intellectual Property of Alexander Cherkasky

    The Independent highlighted in the article “Silicon Valley: The
    anatomy of a cutting-edge start-up” ( by Mike Hodgkinson, Sunday 14
    August, 2011) the company Halcyon Molecular. This company was founded
    in 2008 by brothers William and Michael Andregg in the Redwood City,
    California and worked with financial support of Co-Founders of Paypal
    and Founders Fund Peter Thiel, Luke Nosek and Co-Founder of SpaceX and
    Tesla Motors Elon Musk, as well as investor Dan Gould.
    Halcyon Molecular was working on law cost DNA sequencing technologies
    and has quietly ceased operations and quietly gone away, according to
    the small article in GigaOM Pro “Halcyon Molecular quietly shuts down”
    (published on August 19, 2012).
    William and Michael Andregg told to The Independent, that they are not
    biologists, read books on molecular biology since 2001, dreamed to
    create cures for various diseases to provide technologies for space
    exploration and to “solve the problems in biology: DNA sequencing is
    the grate problem of our time.” They stated, that they invented a
    “threader” – a unique device to stretch and position single strands of
    DNA on a surface” and that they invented a “simple”, new technology
    for sequencing of “larger pieces”, i.e. (stretched) long DNA sequences
    by using electron microscopy.
    Their proposal was highlighted in the article of Eric Schadt et al in
    the list of references in the article “DNA sequencing” in Wikipedia
    as “Future Methods.”
    Interesting are the following facts and especially similarities.
    On April 2, 2010 “inventors” William and Michael Andregg filed the
    United States Patent Application entitled “Sequencing nucleic acid
    polymers with election microscopy.” The assignee was Halcyon
    Molecular. They wanted directly inspect and sequence stretched DNA.
    The US Patent US8153438 “Sequencing nucleic acid polymers with
    electron microscopy” was issued on April 10, 2012 by error of
    examiner, but the examiner found and cited in this US Patent US8153438
    my prior German patent document DE19937512 entitled “Verfahren und
    Gerät zur schnellen Genom-Sequenzierung durch Linearisierung oder
    Auseianderziehen der DNA” i.e. “Method and Device/Apparatus for Fast
    Genome Sequencing through Linearization or Streching the DNA” (filed
    on August 09, 1999, published on February 15, 2001 and the patent was
    issued/granted on August 24, 2006).
    I.e. “Future methods” in America were already “Past methods” in Germany.
    The difference between the patent of the Andreggs and my patent was
    not explained in the patent of the Andreggs, especially the difference
    that would make the Andregg’s patent US8153438 new and inventive. And
    the brothers Andregg did not contacted me, especially after the
    examiner with the USPTO sent them the number of my basis patent
    DE19937512.
    Also “their” invention of the “threader” is not new and not inventive,
    especially because of my previous description in my German patent
    application DE10333389 (0053, 0054 (stretching DNA for sequencing and
    on the surface stretched DNA for sequencing) and Fig. 10 D).
    On April 27, 2012 I have published the blog “Feasibility of Alexander
    Cherkasky’s Inventions of Novel Antiautoimmune and Anticancer Fusion
    Proteins and Technologies for Fast, Simple and Inexpensive DNA and
    Complete Genome Sequencing”
    http://feasibilityofalexandercherkaskysinven.blogspot.de/ where I have
    written also about Halcyon Molecular, that their “invention(s)” are
    in reality not new and not inventive.
    And after few months, in August 2012, it was reported, that Halcyon
    Molecular quietly ceased operations and gone away. Halcyon Molecular
    worked plagiaristically, but they did not fully understood my
    inventions, especially by comparison their bodies with molecules (in
    their interview with The Independent). William and Michael Andregg
    told to The Phenomlist, that they “developed the technology to grab
    individual strands of DNA, stretch them out, and place them wherever
    they wanted – which is the core polymer placement technology that
    Halcyon Molecular is built upon”. This technology, they claimed as
    their own, was disclosed earlier in my patent documents DE19929530,
    DE19937512 and DE10333389. Surprisingly are also some similarities
    between my story and the story, Andreggs presented:
    I, award-winning and media-highlighted inventor and biologist, worked
    since early youth theoretically for solutions of biological problems,
    created cures, and other innovative biomedical solutions, that were
    corroborated by others both with and without references to my name and
    my original published patent documents.
    For example, Spanish inventors Julian Miguel Blanco Arbues, Jorge
    Carrillo Molina and Marta Curriu Marti (Laboratorios del Dr. Esteve
    and Fundacio Privada Institut de Recerca de la SIDA-Caixa) referenced
    in the European Patent Application EP2447277A1 “Vaccine compositions
    based on modified gp41 immunogens” (vaccines against HIV/AIDS) my
    international patent application WO2006/136892 as basis invention.
    This my patent application WO2006136892 “Novel Cherkasky Fusion
    Proteins Containing Antibody Binding Proteins or the Regions thereof”
    comprises my patent application WO2005/040382 “Cherkasky Fusion
    Proteins Containing Antibody-, Antigen- and Microtubule-Binding
    Regions and Immune Response-Triggering Regions” and DE10350131 “Fusion
    Proteins Containing Antibody Binding Regions and Microtubule-Binding
    Regions”. These inventions can be used against cancer, inflammations
    and viral infections and this published group of molecules can be used
    both for therapy and diagnosis!
    I participated on scientific competitions, got awards and was
    highlighted in the media. About me reported also Stern (The Star,
    March 25, 1999), the most popular magazine in Germany. I was awarded
    the Bronze Medal and the Honorary Certificate of the largest
    international inventors competition in Germany IENA
    (Ideas-Inventions-New Products) 2003 in Nuremberg. I have 8 German
    patents, 5 international patent applications, 5 US patent
    applications, and over 35 German patent applications.
    I created not only fast genome sequencing systems, diagnostic systems,
    solutions for prolongation/extension of cell lifes and inventions of
    anticancer, antiautoimmune, antiasthma, and anti-inflammatory cures
    and cures for regeneration of damaged tissues, especially nerve
    tissues, but also inventions of new composite materials, construction
    materials, improved photovoltaics products and technologies for
    large-scale industrial manufacturing of synthetic diamonds of high
    quality. I.e. I created and create solutions for space exploration.

    Everybody who is interested to make joint business based on my
    proposed published inventions is wellcome to contact me.

    Alexander Cherkasky

    Dipl.-Biol. (MSc.) Alexander Cherkasky
    Tel: +49 (0)211 482179
    Email: alexcherkasky@googlemail.com

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