Mountain View, Calif.
Why It's Fierce: Perlegen Sciences was spun off from bioarray pioneer Affymetrix to help drug companies quickly identify promising drug targets from volumes of human genome data. The company is mapping 50 human genomes to identify unique genetic variations. Drug companies will use this information to create the first wave of genomics drugs. Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and Bristol-Myers Squibb signed long-term research deals with Perlegen in December, boosting the company's ambitious growth plan.
What to look for in 2003: Perlegen will sign additional partnerships this year, solidifying its leadership position in this emerging niche.