Tegal Corp., which since 1972 has manufactured machines that make computer chips, is moving into the health I.T. market by acquiring oncology software vendor CollabRx Inc. for just over $930,000.

CollabRx sells oncology decision support software for physicians and their patients to assess tests, therapies and clinical trials for consideration. It has software for researchers to categorize molecular subtypes based on the genetic profile of a tumor, and link subtypes to relevant treatments. And it offers educational materials to aid patients in their treatment decision making.

Tegal is looking for new frontiers after going through a tough patch over the past three years, during which it sold off its product lines and associated intellectual properties, says CEO Thomas Mika in an e-mail to Health Data Management. “The downturn in 2008, and the subsequent tight capital markets nearly put us out of business, and we decided that we could not compete over the long-term in this highly concentrated and extremely competitive industry.”

“We became interested in medical technology and eventually health I.T. because of its size and growth rate, and because the changing environment offers opportunities for smaller companies with limited capital to seize opportunities. This is particularly true of health I.T., where the investment to develop and launch products (mainly software, people and marketing) can be significantly lower than is required in capital equipment or medical devices. We especially like the market that CollabRx operates in. CollabRx possesses a very unique combination of cloud-based expert systems and clinical experts that informs the clinical decision making process in the advanced cancer space.”

Mika and James Karis, CEO at CollabRx, will serve as co-CEOs of the combined company with Mika also chair and Karis on the board. Publicly held Tegal will for now operate under its current name and ticker symbol, but seek stockholder approval in September to change the name to CollabRx. Tegal will grant a total of 368,417 restricted stock units and options to key CollabRx employees as an inducement to remain.

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