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History and development

Exiqon A/S was founded on 1st November 1995 but did not become operational until in the spring of 1996. At the end of 1997, Exiqon secured the exclusive rights to the LNA™ (Locked Nucleic Acid) technology from the Danish inventors of the technology. Until the implementation of the current product oriented strategy in 2003, Exiqon developed the LNA technology, including procedures for large-scale manufacturing and a large number of applications of the LNA technology which have all been patented.

In 1999, Cureon A/S was founded as a subsidiary of Exiqon for the purpose of exploiting the therapeutic potential of the LNA™ technology. Cureon A/S was later merged with Panteco A/S, thereby forming the company Santaris Pharma A/S. Exiqon has retained all the rights to the LNA™ technology, except for the therapeutic applications of the LNA™ technology.

Exiqon has since sold its stake in Santaris Pharma A/S. In 2003, Exiqon developed and implemented the existing product oriented strategy for its life sciences segment.

The first research product developed under the new strategy was Universal ProbeLibrary™, which was launched in the spring of 2004. In 2005, Exiqon formed a strategic alliance with Roche Diagnostics for selling Universal ProbeLibrary™ and in the same year, the Company’s other main product range, Mercury™. In 2006, Exiqon established de-facto in-house production through its subsidiary in the United States, using its own US sales organisation. In 2006, the Company took the first steps towards using the existing LNA™ products for miRNA analysis in diagnostic applications, and the identification of miRNA biomarkers in cancer was initiated.

In 2008, Exiqon acquired Oncotech, Inc., a California-based company which offered extreme drug resistance diagnostic tests in cancer through a CLIA laboratory.

In 2009, Exiqon successfully launched a 2nd generation platform for quantitative real-time PCR analysis of microRNAs which combines all the advantages of LNA™ detection technology with a universal reverse transcription (RT) step, resulting in the most sensitive microRNA expression profiling system currently available on the market. Exiqon restructured its Life Science business and successfully outsourced the manufacturing of custom LNA™ oligonucleotides.

In 2010, Exiqon gained market share in the fast growing market segment for qPCR expression analysis of miRNA. Operations at Oncotech, Inc. were discontinued and Exiqon’s diagnostic efforts were concentrated in Vedbaek. Exiqon published the first clinical data from one of our diagnostic programs and also granted a product-specific license to Becton, Dickinson and Company to use Exiqon’s proprietary LNA™ technology in defined diagnostic products for certain infectious diseases.

Lars Kongsbak
Chief Executive Officer
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