If pharmacogenomics is truly to affect the future of drug development, patients with a wide variety of diseases will have to be screened for particular genetic markers prior to enrollment in clinical trials, and those markers will have to be identified and validated in the first place. Kiva Genetics Inc. proposes to be the company to do that screening through its high-throughput genotyping technology and genetic services business model.

Kiva's genotyping technology relies on microchannel electrophoretic DNA separation technology combined with fluorescent detection of PCR-amplified DNA. Kiva licensed the technology from Amersham Pharmacia Biotech Ltd. (Uppsala, Sweden) and its subsidiary Molecular Dynamics Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.). According to Hugh Rienhoff, chairman and CEO, Kiva's technology provides a 10-100-fold decrease in the cost of genotyping while increasing throughput by 10-100-fold relative to competing technologies.