OpGen pockets up to $17M in VC deal

OpGen has struck a deal with investors to haul in as much as $17 million in a Series C round of financing, providing the company with growth capital to bolster sales of its genomic research tools and analysis software products, the company said Wednesday.

The Gaithersburg, MD-based company--whose whole genome mapping technology is intended to provide a more complete and accurate view of the genome than sequencing alone--tapped new investors Harris & Harris Group and Cross Creek Capital for the round, which also included repeat backers Highland Capital Partners, Versant Ventures, jVen Capital and CHL Medical Partners. As part of the deal, Harris & Harris' Misti Ushio has joined OpGen's board of directors.

Genome-Builder, the company's software, wraps sequence scaffold data with OpGen's single molecule maps to "to align and orient sequence scaffolds more efficiently and cost effectively than existing software packages and tools," OpGen CEO Doug White told FierceBiotech IT via email.

OpGen, founded in 2001, has seen more than 100 customers use its whole genome mapping technology or services, White said. Unlike Illumina's ($ILMN) whole genome sequencers, which identify the building blocks of cells in DNA, OpGen's genome maps enable speedy and relatively low cost sequence assembly. With the maps, researchers are able to hunt down structural variations in genomes and chromosomes, a tricky task using sequencing data alone, White said. 

"Our customers are using the technology for sequence assembly and finishing as well as comparative genomics analysis," White said. "We have customers in public health and food safety market, biodefense, genomics research and sequencing centers."

According to its press release, the company's customer base includes BGI, the world's largest sequencing operation, as well as Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the Genome Institute at Washington University and the University of Maryland Institute for Genome Sciences.

- here's the press release

Editor's Note: A version of this story also appears today in FierceBiotech. For FierceBiotech IT readers, this article includes additional information about OpGen's proprietary Genome-Builder software.

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