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Precision Therapeutics on the South Side is building success through healing, giving cancer patients a new lease on life.

Its flagship diagnostic test, ChemoFx, helps doctors to determine which chemotherapy drugs will be the most effective in attacking a cancer tumor, a custom approach to diagnosis that is generating heartfelt accolades from the patients who are recovering from the invasive disease. While the primary focus is gynecologic cancers, a new test for breast cancer is in clinical trial with a target date of 2011.

CEO Sean McDonald believes the former startup is on its way to becoming the region's next big life sciences success stories. In 2009 the South Side firm, currently at 240 employees, more than doubled revenues. McDonald projects that PT will hire at least 100 in the next year and double in size soon beyond that.

This month PT is expanding into 22,000 square feet of lab and office space in the Chocolate Factory on the 43rd Street in Lawrenceville. About 20 employees will work there initially, with room to grow.

"Pittsburgh has outstanding technical people and an outstanding medical center. You can't duplicate that in a lot of towns," says McDonald of the support the firm has received along the way. A Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse company, PT has raised more than $100 million since it was founded. McDonald was named the regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in June.

Adams Capital Management, Birchmere Ventures, Draper Triangle Venture and Hillman Co. have participated in the funding rounds along with outside investors Quaker BioVentures in Philadelphia and Bain Capital in Boston.

"The things that are hardest for many companies to get are the things we have. We've been able to build a good team here," he says.

Writer: Debra Diamond Smit
Source: Sean McDonald, Precision Therapeutics

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Precision Therapeutics
2516 Jane Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
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