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Testing Co. Artemis DNA Pivots After $250M Win

Expansion in California, Vietnam; Exits Houston

Irvine-based Artemis DNA Inc., a fast-growing provider of genetic tests, has closed its Houston facility to concentrate on the expansion of its oncology work in California and Vietnam, after being awarded a $250 million contract for cancer liquid biopsy tests.

“This was certainly one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make with Artemis DNA,” Artemis founder Emylee Thai said in a statement. “As our first location, the Houston facility has played an incredibly important role in the Artemis DNA story, and I will be forever grateful to every team member and their invaluable contributions to the company while wishing the team the best in all their endeavors.”

Artemis last year had about 46 employees, including 31 in Orange County.

The closure of the Texas location comes as the company begins a strategic transformation to expand its oncology portfolio and testing services in California.

“The optimization of the company’s infrastructure and logistics are an essential part of becoming a more sustainably profitable business and to better meet the needs of the customers,” Thai said in a statement.

Thai, a fluent Vietnamese speaker, is also expanding to Vietnam.

 

Genetic Tests

Thai earned a management degree in 2008 from California State University, Long Beach, and started her first business at the age of 16. She has led five different e-commerce startups to profitability.

She has been in the healthcare industry for a decade, including as a partner at Orion Modern, a healthcare-focused Chinese venture capital firm.

In 2019, she founded Artemis after becoming interested in genetic tests because she lost both her Vietnamese parents to cancer.

The company provides proprietary Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) genetic testing and diagnostic laboratory services for a wide variety of medical specialties, including cardiology, oncology, immunology, neurology, reproductive health and pharmacogenomics. Its clinical laboratory has been accredited by the College of American Pathologists.

Artemis’ testing enhances the delivery of “personalized medicine” by assessing a patient’s own genetic makeup and clinical characteristics. Artemis DNA provides pre- and post-testing genetic education and counseling services, as well as conducting research and development to discover and develop additional novel diagnostic services.

Its tests enable genomic profiling of tumor samples and early detection of cancers including lung, stomach and breasts.

 

New Contract

The company reached $40 million in annual sales in 2020. Last month, it was selected as the winner of the Association of Corporate Growth Orange County’s Annual Award for Startups.

In May, Artemis announced a $250 million contract from India-based Datar Cancer Genetics to commercialize and distribute cancer liquid biopsy tests called Trucheck Pragma and Cancertrack.

Trucheck Pragma is a noninvasive, blood-based screening test for a variety of cancers like lung, stomach and breast. Cancertrack is a cancer monitoring test for patients to evaluate response/resistance during treatment, as well as to monitor recurrence of cancer.

The contract gives Artemis DNA exclusive distribution rights in the U.S. and Vietnam.

“Our passion and commitment is to deliver best-in-class and unparalleled range of blood-based diagnostics for clinicians and patients and we are committed to work with Artemis DNA towards ensuring freedom from the fear of cancer for the people of Vietnam,” Rajan Datar, founder and chairman of Datar Cancer Genetics, said in a statement.

Datar says its cancer screening solution has been proven through extensive clinical validations involving more than 40,000 participants.

Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan has been a journalist for 40 years. He spent a decade in Latin America covering wars, narcotic traffickers, earthquakes, and business. His resume includes 15 years at Bloomberg News where his headlines and articles sometimes moved the market caps of companies he covered by hundreds of millions of dollars. His articles have been published worldwide, including the New York Times and the Washington Post; he's appeared on CNN, CBC, BBC, and Bloomberg TV. He was awarded a Kiplinger Fellowship at The Ohio State University.
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