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Startup Companion Diagnostics trying to work through bankruptcy

September 8, 2014

Companion Diagnostics Inc., a company that relocated to Indiana from Connecticut in 2010, has entered bankruptcy reorganization while it tries to pursue a new strategy.

Companion came to Indianapolis offering use of its high-throughput testing machines to large life sciences companies such as Eli Lilly and Co. and Roche Diagnostics, and to academic research centers.

It also hoped to develop easy-to-use diagnostic tests patients could use to pick up early warning signs of chronic diseases.

But now it is developing a therapy for inflammation, said Companion CEO Richard Selinfreund.

“We’re working very hard to come out of Chapter 11,” Selinfreund said. “We’re hoping to come out stronger and better.”

Companion filed for protection from its creditors on Aug. 20, listing a dozen creditors to whom it owes nearly $3.4 million. The biggest amount, more than $1.2 million, is owed to BMO Harris Bank. Companion also listed $1.5 million in unpaid compensation to Selinfreund and its executive chairman, Mark Germain.

Selinfreund said he and Germain have been working for free for the past three years. They are willing to do so, he said, because they think their latest technology has great potential.

“We think this is very big,” Selinfruend said.

In May 2013, Companion told the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission that it was trying to raise $1 million. Selinfreund declined to say if Companion had, indeed, been able to raise that money.

Companion’s other major creditors include Indianapolis-based Aledo Consulting and law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP.

Companion owes $105,130 in unpaid local taxes. It also owes $57,500 to Indiana University Research & Technology Corp., from which it rented space at the IU Innovation Center at 351 W. 10th St.

Companion now has its offices on the far west side of Indianapolis along Rockville Road.

When the company came to Indianapolis, it promised to hire 30 additional workers by this year, paying average salaries of $90,000. In exchange, the company received a tax abatement valued at $290,355.

Selinfreund declined to say how many employees Companion has.

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