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May 25th, 2009

Molecular Imprints advances

After eight years as a high-tech startup, Molecular Imprints Inc. stands on the brink of overnight success.

The 125-employee company, which develops advanced tools for chip manufacturers and others, expects record sales of $25 million this year, up about 50 percent from last year, and the promise of more growth in the next several years.

It's expanding its headquarters in an old Dell Inc. building on Braker Lane in North Austin to add manufacturing space, hiring more technical workers and making plans for a public stock offering in the next two years.

That's considerable progress for a company that has lived primarily on government research grants and $72 million in venture capital and strategic investments from semiconductor equipment companies.

CEO Mark Melliar-Smith says his company is working on a once-in-a-generation advance in manufacturing that could lead the way through the thorny, costly technical barriers that confront the world's chipmakers.

But first, the company expects to change the game on making computer disk drives, the devices that store billions of bytes of information inside hundreds of millions of computers and storage devices.


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