Ariosa founders get $8.2M Series A to develop organ transplant monitoring Dx

Tai founder Michael Mitchell

Milwaukee, WI-based startup Tai Diagnostics has raised a Series A round of $8.2 million to back its development of a blood-based test to track the health of organ transplants in patients. The new company's founders include a pair of co-founders of Ariosa Diagnostics, a prenatal diagnostics company that sold last year to Roche ($RHHBY) for up to $625 million including $400 million in cash up front.

The Ariosa and Tai founders are Dr. Michael Mitchell, a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and Dr. Aoy Tomita-Mitchell, an associate professor and research scientist at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

"The gold standard for monitoring of the status of organ rejection is tissue biopsy," said Mitchell in a statement. "However, tissue biopsy is expensive, very invasive with risks for the patient, and limited in its timely indication of rejection."

Tai Diagnostics is based on technology licensed from the Medical College of Wisconsin for monitoring transplanted solid organs. The technique uses cell-free DNA detection to determine the health of the transplanted organ; the initial focus will be on heart transplant patients.

Founded this year, the company also disclosed its CEO: Frank Langley, who previously headed Pel-Freez Clinical Systems, which is now part of Thermo Fisher Scientific ($TMO). He was also VP and GM of Transplant Diagnostics at Immucore.

Madison, WI-based venture firm Venture Investors and other undisclosed private investors participated in the financing.

"We feel confident about the ability of its novel cfDNA technology to play a major role in the transplant diagnostics market," said Venture Investors Managing Director Loren Peterson. "Our firm also knows Frank Langley well, and his deep and relevant experience in transplant diagnostics make us even more confident in Tai Diagnostics' future."

- here is the announcement