ANN ARBOR (WWJ) — Ann Arbor-based Rubicon Genomics Inc. has reported a surge in sales of its DNA analysis technology, with sales growth of 85 to 90 percent from 2012 to 2013 — the fourth straight year of strong growth.

Rubicon also plans to move to a new, larger headquarters in Ann Arbor by this summer.

Rubicon makes products that “amplify” tiny quantities of DNA so they can be used in medical testing — quantities as small as a picogram, or a trillionth of a gram.

“This has been a breakout year for Rubicon, as our expanded marketing efforts and use of our DNA prep kits in high visibility scientific publications have made more researchers aware of the advantages of our technology,” said Rubicon Genomics CEO James Koziarz. “Our patented kits enable high quality sequencing of research and clinical samples that previously were too small or too degraded for testing.”

Rubicon products have been used over the past year in several studies featured in renowned medical publications such as Nature, Nature Genetics and Nature Methods.

In the Nature study, scientists used Rubicon’s ThruPlex FD (fragmented DNA) test kit to conduct a biopsy of cancer from cancer DNA in a patient’s bodily fluids, providing an easier way to test how the tumor would react to various cancer drugs.

ThruPlex allows amplification of DNA that can be analyzed by the market leader in DNA analysis machines, from California-based Illumina. Rubicon is also working on technology that would adapt to another maker of DNA analyzers, Life Technologies.

In another study, University of Washington researchers took DNA from a fetus that they captured in the mother’s body fluids, and sequenced it to test the DNA of the fetus for abnormalities without having to invade the amniotic fluid around the fetus.

“That will be used in a lot of prenatal testing,” Koziarz predicted.

PicoPlex was launched in 2009, and has the ability to amplify the DNA contained in a single cell for analysis. Koziarz said it’s “used extensively in in-vitro fertilization for a one-cell biopsy before an embryo is implanted, to assess the viability of the embryo.”

Koziarz said Rubicon continues to work toward making DNA testing more common and less expensive.

“The holy grail is to get DNA testing down to routine laboratory testing,” he said.

Rubicon is currently at 25 employees and its business plan calls for the hiring of nine more employees in 2014.

The company is also moving to a new, larger headquarters in Ann Arbor by June, Koziarz said. The new space at 4743 Venture Drive is 19,600 square feet in size.

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