DVS Sciences lands $14.6M round with Big Pharma support

Big names in life sciences are backing DVS Sciences in a $14.6 million Series A round. With biomarker analysis technology for personalized medicine, the start-up has garnered investments from the investment vehicles of drug giants Pfizer ($PFE) and Roche as well as the venture firms 5AM Ventures and Mohr Davidow Ventures. 5AM led the round.

DVS plans to use its cash infusion to commercialize its system that is similar in concept to a flow cytometer and can identify up to 100 biomarkers at a time. The system, which was developed with seed money from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, will be used for scientific research as well as clinical trials in which researchers aim to match patients with appropriate drugs based on biomarker analyses. Cancer drug development is expected to be a key area for the system. The company has its corporate headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA, and its manufacturing and research operations in Canada.

"This financing is the first step in our transformation from a research-based entity to a commercial company," Scott Tanner, DVS Sciences' president, said. "We are now in a position to commercialize our innovative instrumentation and reagents that will foster the acceleration of medical research, enable personalized therapeutic diagnosis and prognosis, and transform drug discovery."

Life sciences investors have had some success investing in flow cytometer technology as of late, with scientific tools giant Becton Dickinson's ($BDX) buyout of venture-backed Accuri Cytometers in Ann Arbor, MI, earlier this year. Given the potential applications of DVS Systems' technology in personalized medicine, perhaps it's no surprise to see Pfizer and Roche--two Big Pharma players with huge stakes in this field--making bets on the company through their respective investment arms.

- here's DVS Sciences' release