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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 November 2005, 12:28 GMT
Big test for young company boss
By Yuan Potts
BBC2's Working Lunch

DNA sample being taken from man's mouth
DNA Bioscience plans to float on the stock market next year
A week ago, few of you would have heard of DNA Bioscience.

But press coverage associated with its former director, one David Blunkett, has ensured a torrent of free publicity.

The company supplies kits for determining parentage to individuals, solicitors and other corporate bodies.

It was founded three years ago by 29 year old Avi Lasarow, who had previously worked for an international bank.

National spotlight

But it is the involvement of a cabinet minister that has propelled the young company into the national spotlight.

Mr Lasarow, now the firm's managing director, is a subscriber to the old maxim that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

How bad can it be to have your company thrown into the column inches?
Avi Lasarow, Managing Director, DNA Bioscience
And perhaps unsurprisingly, he is also a rather happy man at the moment.

"The brand has progressed quite rapidly over the last two or three years", he told BBC2's Working Lunch.

'McDonalds of DNA'

"As someone who wants to get our name out there, perhaps as the McDonalds of DNA, how bad can it be to have your company thrown into the column inches?"

The firm's primary product is a kit for collecting cells with a swab from inside the mouth.

After a second back-up sample is taken, the swabs are returned to the company who forward them to a laboratory in America.

The firm claims the ensuing results can establish parentage with 99.99% certainty.

Roughly half of the company's income is derived from the kit's use in legal cases, so it's no coincidence that their offices are to be found in the shadow of the Old Bailey.

Legal work

The cheapest kits for individuals start at 159, but those needed for legal purposes sell for an average of over 400.

The company denies any work has come its way from the Child Support Agency, part of the Department for Work and Pensions, as a result of the involvement of its former director.

Although still in its infancy, the company, which employs 14 people, plans to float on the stock market early next year.

City analysts expect the firm to be given a price tag of between 15m and 20m, making a 3% holding worth over 450,000.

As the company's second most famous shareholder, managing director Mr Lasarow stands to make rather more from his stake.



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