2 molecular diagnostics companies grab major money

Molecular diagnostics/genetic sequencing startups Good Start Genetics and MolecularMD have nailed down new rounds of cash to advance clinical and commercial development of their products. The deals point to the increasing importance of the space as drug companies seek to make personalized medicine an everyday reality.

Good Start Genetics in Cambridge, MA, closed a $14 million Series B round by way of a Series B Preferred Stock financing. Existing investors OrbiMed Advisors, Safeguard Scientifics and SV Life Sciences led the round. The company plans to use the money infusion to support commercial plans for its preconception carrier screening tests. Good Start develops tests focused on ACOG and ACMG recommended disorders.

Interestingly, Good Start is also bringing on some veteran biotechnology and Big Pharma executives. Jean Franchi is Good Start's new chief financial officer and Laura Sullivan is slated to become vice president of customer care and reimbursement. Both held related positions at Genzyme. Paul Ethridge, a former GlaxoSmithKline human resources executive, has also been recruited as VP of human resources.

MolecularMD, of Portland, OR, nailed a $6 million Series B equity financing, thanks to Nextech Invest, which joins Ballast Point Ventures as an investor. The company is developing companion diagnostics for targeted cancer treatments, and will use the money to speed up the commercial launch of various new technologies and tests focused on next-generation sequencing and "rare mutant detection." Of note: MolecularMD plans this year to submit a companion diagnostic test for regulatory approval that would work with Ariad Pharmaceutical's ponatinib drug.

- here's Good Start's release
- check out MolecularMD's announcement