Diffinity Genomics, a biotechnology startup funded by a local seed-capital fund, is rolling out its first product, with an eye toward follow-ups later this year and in 2011. The company's first product is used in the process of DNA analysis and is aimed at researchers. The product works in a specific, widely used process for analyzing nucleic acids like DNA, explains Jeff Helfer, Diffinity CEO. Just about anyone who works with DNA uses the process, meaning Diffinity is in a good position for growth, he says. "We're kind of right in the middle of things," he says. "I think the opportunity is ours to lose, if we execute properly." Diffinity, based in Rochester, received $100,000 in funding in 2009 from the Syracuse-based Seed Capital Fund of CNY, LLC. Diffinity's initial product, a disposable tip used to move liquids around in labs, helps in purifying samples for further use. It's an essential step because impurities can interfere with analysis down the line, Helfer says. The tip itself is based on nanotechnology designed to repel certain substances and absorb others. The product is just the first in a suite that will target a market with a total size of nearly $770 million worldwide, Helfer says. Plans are in place for later this year to roll out another four to five products that along with the disposable tip, address a $179 million piece of that total market. Helfer declined to discuss specific numbers, but says the company should be able to capture a "significant" portion of that market. He also says Diffinity is planning to release products that can participate in other pieces of the $770 million market starting in the middle of 2011. The introductions should lead to hiring at the company, Helfer says. Diffinity currently employs nine people, a total Helfer says should double in the next 12 months. "Again, the real key here is getting more products to market as quickly as you can," he says. With continuing rapid advances in science's understanding of the human genome, there's an almost unlimited amount of work that can be done in the field, Helfer adds. As a result, companies that can improve researchers' workflow stand a good chance of having their products widely adopted, he says. Diffinity's products do that by increasing the speed of the processes they're involved in. The company's technology also has potential applications in the more regulated field of molecular diagnostics, which often involves analysis of samples in a clinical or health-care setting. That means a challenging approval process--not something Diffinity will undertake on its own, Helfer says. The company is looking for licensing partners to take its technology to market in that arena, he says. "That's not the low-hanging fruit," he says. '"That's the hard stuff." Helfer has 33 years of experience in medical-product development, manufacturing, new business development, and regulatory affairs.