Primera Biosystems Raises $21 Million in Series B Private Round
MANSFIELD, Massachusetts, January 8, 2008 -- Primera Biosystems, Inc., an emerging molecular diagnostics company with assay programs in infectious disease and oncology, announced today that it has closed on $21 million of Series B financing led by Abingworth and joined by Interwest Partners. Existing investors Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC), MPM Capital, Burrill & Company and the Invus Group also participated in the round.
"Primera plans to use this financing to complete development of our instrument system, reagent kits for disease-specific clinical research, future diagnostic tests as well as support ongoing research and development efforts," said Martin L. Verhoef, President and Chief Executive Officer of Primera Biosystems, Inc. "With help from our new and existing investors, we will stay ahead of the field by developing molecular diagnostics that have significant impact on patient management and deliver real benefits for doctors, patients and payers."
Primera is developing a proprietary nucleic acid analysis system, "STAR" (Scalable Target Amplification Routine), that combines in a single bench-top system the best features of quantitative real-time PCR with - true multiplexing of 60 or more targets. By increasing throughput and lowering costs -- while maintaining accuracy and quantification -- the STAR system has the potential to become the premier next generation real-time PCR platform for use in clinical development and diagnostics. The technology was invented by Vladimir Slepnev Ph.D., Primera's Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder. The technology can be applied for gene expression, DNA/RNA analysis, micro RNA analysis, mutation analysis and methylated DNA analysis. The Company's first test leveraging STAR is ViraQuant(TM: 104.34, -0.13, -0.12%), a market-ready assay for the simultaneous quantitative measurement of multiple viral agents that cause infections in immune compromised patients. A multiplex fungal test will follow. These assays will permit rapid, efficient and quantitative measurement of pathogens and will help choose the appropriate therapeutic intervention, taking treatment from empirical therapy to complete and personalized medicine. Primera plans to commercialize its STAR platform and assay reagents to hospital and reference laboratories that service the relevant clinical populations, and will seek future regulatory approval.
"Multiplex molecular assays are becoming extremely important for the practice of medicine," said Vincent J. Miles, Ph.D, Venture Partner with Abingworth. "We believe that Primera's ingenious technology represents the most viable solution for highly multiplexed quantitative real-time PCR, the gold standard for accurate results in molecular diagnostic tests, and will have a major impact on testing procedures in the company's target markets."
Primera's new Board of Directors will be led by Laurence McCarthy as Executive Chairman and will include Martin Verhoef, President and CEO; Michael Bigham and Vincent Miles, Abingworth; Nina Kjellson, Interwest; Azlin Alias, Malaysian Technology Development Corporation and Kazumi Shiosaki (co-founder), MPM Capital.
Abingworth is an investment firm dedicated to the life sciences sector on both sides of the Atlantic. The company invests across all stages of development, including early-stage as well as public companies. Abingworth has provided backing for more than 100 unquoted life science businesses. Over 70% of these have gone public or have merged or been acquired. Abingworth has funds under management of more than $1.25 billion. Founded in 1973, Abingworth has offices in London, Cambridge (UK), Menlo Park (California) and Boston. More information can be found at http://www.abingworth.com.
About InterWest Partners
Investing since 1979, InterWest Partners is a leading diversified venture capital firm currently investing InterWest IX, a $600 million fund. With more than $2B in capital under management, InterWest takes a long-term collaborative approach to venture funding, providing early-stage and ongoing capital, management development and access to a broad network of resources. More information can be found at http://www.interwest.com
Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) is the leading integrated venture capital (VC: 3.75, -0.01, -0.26%) solutions provider in Malaysia. It is an agency under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and its majority shareholder is Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the Malaysian government investment arm. MTDC was incorporated on March 1992 with the focus on commercializing research results of universities/research institutions, identifying and transferring emerging and strategic technologies for adoption by industries, and encouraging the growth of technology-based enterprises in Malaysia. As an integrated VC company, MTDC provides services to individuals, entrepreneurs and companies in the areas of technology financing/funding, technology grants, technology incubators and value-added consultancy. These services form the core of MTDC's activities to create, nurture and promote Malaysian technology companies in strategic thrust areas. More information can be found at http://www.mtdc.com.my.