Helomics teams with economic development firm to form new incubator focused on diagnostics

Pittsburgh-based Helomics and PLSG plan to offer a complete ecosystem for startups looking to commercialize new technologies.

Helomics, a privately held CRO that focuses on personalized medicine solutions in the pharma, diagnostic and biotech arenas, said it is partnering with the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse economic development firm to establish an incubator targeting diagnostics and precision medicine.

Best known for its tumor profiling technology and diagnostic expertise, the Pittsburgh-based company expects the partnership with PLSG will offer a complete ecosystem for startup companies looking to transition innovative technology from product validation to commercialization.

"We are very excited about this strategic collaboration.” Gerald J. Vardzel Jr., Helomics’ president and CEO, said in a statement. “Our missing piece was a business partner who could both fund and assist companies in developing the infrastructure towards commercialization.”

The incubator will be housed at Helomics’ headquarters.

In 2015, Helomics teamed up with scientists from Genomics England and drugmakers including AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Biogen, Roche and GlaxoSmithKline for a yearlong trial of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for cancer and rare diseases.

That collaboration came just months after a corporate overhaul that saw the company change its name from Precision Therapeutics to Helomics and get a $60 million investment infusion to support two of its products: GeneFx, a microarray-based gene signature that can predict a patient's risk for redeveloping colon cancer; and ChemoFx, a diagnostic tool that helps doctors select therapies for women with gynecologic cancer.