Genomics co. OpGen lands $17.3M in Series B

Gaithersburg, MD-based OpGen has closed a $17.3 million series B round of financing, which the company plans to use to support the commercial launch of its Argus Optical Mapping System. The new round of financing was led by jVen Capital with participation from the company's other major investors, including CHL Medical Partners, Highland Capital Partners, Mason Wells Biomedical and Versant Ventures.

OpGen, which currently employs about 50 people and plans to hire a few more in the coming year, previously raised $25 million in 2007. That funding helped the company reach commercialization of its Optical Mapping system. In an interview with FierceBiotech, OpGen CFO Eric Winzer notes that his company's technology is complementary to the work being done by some of the industry's well-known sequencing companies. "As sequencing gets cheaper and more prevalent, the Argus system will not only help validate answers, but can also help achieve faster sequencing. A lot of sequencing is never fully finished. The effort that it takes to finish the final five to 10 percent of sequencing can be tremendous, and this technology can shave time off the final finishing work."

Winzer notes that the technology is useful for comparing strains of disease outbreaks, and has been used by the FDA and military to study infectious diseases. Optical Mapping bridges strain typing and sequencing to correlate phenotype to genotype for generating advances in fields such as biodefense, outbreak management, agriculture and clinical microbiology. Though it's a few years away, Winzer says the technology could help identify a bacteria in in a matter of hours, rather than days.

- read the OpGen release