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Advanced Liquid Adds to Pool of Awards

Advanced Liquid Logic  is a company to watch.

That was reinforced this week when the fast-growing Research Triangle Park firm was named one of 25 North Carolina Companies to Watch from more than 200 nominees in the third annual competition sponsored by Durham-based entrepreneurial support organization CED. 

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center, which nominated Advanced Liquid for the award, has provided more than $400,000 in loans and a grant to help propel the company’s early growth.

NCBiotech started helping with Duke lab discovery

NCBiotech’s formal relationship with Advanced Liquid started in 2003 when the Center provided a $50,000 Collaborative Funding Grant to Duke University scientist Richard Fair, Ph.D. The funding allowed Fair to hire postdoc Vamsee Pamula, Ph.D., for work on commercializing Fair’s tiny lab-on-a-chip, or microfluidics, devices.

Pamula spun it out as Advanced Liquid Logic the following year with co-founder and Duke research colleage Michael Pollack, Ph.D. Pamula says the grant, and subsequent NCBiotech loans, kept the research program alive and led to millions of dollars in subsequent grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

The privately held Advanced Liquid now employs more than 50 people, holds hundreds of patents, and has launched its first gene-testing products into the marketplace.

Advanced Liquid CEO Richard West also participated in venture capital expeditions organized by the Center to connect investment-ready North Carolina life-science companies with key fund managers in Palo Alto and Boston in recent months.

Accolades becoming common for Advanced Liquid

This week’s award is the most recent in a string of high-profile recognitions of the company’s groundbreaking platform for analyzing genetic data in a new, efficient way. For example, it was recognized by Frost and Sullivan (Lab-on-a-Chip Company of the Year) and the Wall Street Journal (Technology Innovation Award).

The “watch” award is presented by CED, in partnership with the Edward Lowe Foundation, to honor growth oriented, second-stage companies headquartered in North Carolina that demonstrate high performance in their market, exhibit innovative products and display other unique qualities that make them “worth watching.”

CED said the 25 recipients collectively added jobs at an annual rate of 35 percent between 2008 and 2011, totaling 936 new jobs, and grew revenue by an annual rate of 41 percent during the same period, totaling $191 million in revenue.

“These 25 companies collectively tell the story of how North Carolina is growing jobs and revenue through innovation,” said Joan Siefert Rose, CED president. “We are pleased that the winners represent a wide range of the state’s regions and industry sectors. Each company is unique and we will be sharing the stories of their success at the awards ceremony.”

The award recipients will be recognized at a June 7 public dinner at the Raleigh Marriott City Center. Registration is open for the event.