SOURCE: X PRIZE Foundation

April 23, 2008 07:00 ET

ZS Genetics, Inc. to Vie for Ten Million Dollar Archon X PRIZE for Genomics

Massachusetts-Based Company Enters the Competition With New Approach to Genetic Sequencing

SANTA MONICA, CA--(Marketwire - April 23, 2008) - ZS Genetics, Inc. is the seventh team to be accepted into the ten million dollar Archon X PRIZE for Genomics competition. Led by William Glover, an engineer and inventor, ZS Genetics was founded in 2003. The company, which is based in North Reading, Massachusetts, is finalizing development of a technology platform for directly creating detailed images of individual DNA or RNA molecules using modified transmission electron microscopes and atomic labeling. The team consists of professors, biologists, engineers and businessmen, and includes strategic relationships with universities and component makers.

"We're extremely excited to have ZS Genetics join the race as our seventh official team," said Marc Hodosh, Senior Director for the Archon X PRIZE for Genomics. "Expanding the field of competitors not only increases the chances of a winner, but increases the support and public awareness towards the quest of rapid and cost-effective whole human genome sequencing. ZS Genetics is a serious competitor with a very interesting approach, and we applaud their focus and effort to reach this challenging, yet attainable goal."

The Archon X PRIZE for Genomics is the second prize launched by the X PRIZE Foundation following the success of the Ansari X PRIZE for sub-orbital spaceflight. To win the $10 million genomics prize purse, teams must successfully sequence 100 human genomes within 10 days for less than $10,000 per genome. This accomplishment is a necessary step to create a new era of personalized, predictive and preventive medicine, eventually transforming medical care from reactive to proactive.

"This competition isn't about consensus or tradition or administrative approval," said ZS Genetics Founder, William Glover. "The Archon X PRIZE competition provides exactly the focus and immediacy needed to drive pioneers and innovators forward. We believe our approach will win, but whichever team receives the prize, all humanity will share in the advances that have been encouraged by the X PRIZE."

ABOUT THE X PRIZE FOUNDATION

The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured world headlines when Burt Rutan, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world's first private vehicle to space to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the $10 million Progressive Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation is creating prizes in five areas: Exploration (Space and Underwater), Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, Education and Global Development. The Foundation is widely recognized as the leading model for fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit www.xprize.org. For more information on the Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, please visit http://genomics.xprize.org.

ABOUT ZS GENETICS

ZS Genetics (www.zsgenetics.com) is a privately held company based in the northeastern USA that is finalizing development of a technology platform for directly creating detailed images of individual DNA or RNA molecules, using modified transmission electron microscopes and atomic labeling. ZS Genetics' technology offers the prospect of revolutionary advancements in genetic analysis, with applications in the sequencing, expression and diagnostics markets. The technology shows the promise of sequencing whole human genomes in days instead of months, for thousands of dollars instead of millions; and with long base pair read-lengths, which allow the detection of long repeating patterns in a genetic code. The technology could change the multi-billion-dollar marketplace dynamics for genetic information applications, including enabling widespread adoption of genetics-based medicine, and driving important innovation in disease research, drug discovery, forensics, environmental impact studies, agriculture, anthropology and history.

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