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.
2 thoughts on “Halcyon Molecular quietly shuts down”
Reblogged this on txwikinger's blog.
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
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.
Dipl.-Biol. (MSc.) Alexander Cherkasky
Tel: +49 (0)211 482179