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Accelr8

Biotech company moving HQ to Tucson

Accelr8, a biotech company that's developing a rapid pathogen diagnostic instrument, is moving its headquarters from Denver to Tucson, officials announced Thursday.

The company said it will initially employ 65, including engineers, scientists, manufacturing and executive staff. Accelr8 could grow to 200-300 employees, a press release from Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities said.

"Accelr8 is developing a revolutionary product in the diagnostics area and we were impressed with the region’s emerging bioscience strength, innovation and support that can help ensure our future success," company CEO Lawrence Mehren said.

Tucson's mayor welcomed the company.

"Our region has the technical talent and workforce that Accelr8 needs," said Jonathan Rothschild "We are quickly becoming recognized for our 'innovation know how.'"

From TREO:

Founded in 1982, Accelr8 develops instruments used for the detection of pathogenic microorganisms. Its BACcel™ rapid diagnostic system, in development, is the first technology that is able to count and identify dangerous pathogens and their drug resistance expression within the same day of obtaining a patient specimen, instead of the two to three days required for standard methods. This speed allows for a significant improvement in the treatment of the over 1.7 million people in the US who contract a hospital acquired infection each year, and access to a multi-billion dollar market.

Accelr8's 15,000 square foot new HQ will be in Pima County’s Herbert K. Abrams Public Health Center, 3950 S. Country Club Rd. The company expects to have the facility operational by early 2013, after building out wet lab space.

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The Board of Supervisors is slated to approve the company's lease next week.

"This win shows that Tucson is poised to take off as a region that is attractive to bioscience companies," said Stephen Eggen, TREO board chairman.

"We’re thrilled to attract a publicly-traded headquarters in a key, targeted industry," said TREO CEO Joe Snell. "Accelr8 represents another building block as we emerge as a leading biotech hub."

Accelr8 stock, which trades on Amex as AXK, was at $2.90 at midday. The stock's 52-week range was $0.76-3.90.

Mehren, who became the company's president in June, was formerly the head of global business at Roche Group’s Ventana Medical Systems.

Accelr8 was founded in 1982.

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