Courtagen reels in $20M for genetic pediatric neurology disorder tests

Courtagen CEO Brian McKernan

Massachusetts startup Courtagen roped in $20 million to support development of its genetic tests for pediatric neurology disorders, a boon for the company as it rolls out new products and diversifies its diagnostics portfolio.

Existing investors such as Harbor Light Capital and Adler & Co. contributed financing, and new investors including Bunker Hill Capital and First Analysis also participated in the round. The company added two board members as part of the financing, appointing Bain & Co. partner Chuck Farkas as a board member and First Analysis managing director Tracy Marshbanks as a board observer.

Courtagen will use proceeds to expand its services to customers while "maintaining strong financial and operating discipline," CEO Brian McKernan said in a statement.

"Over the past year, we have made tremendous progress in our mission to help children suffering from debilitating diseases," McKernan said. "We remain steadfast in our determination to build Courtagen into a world class, global enterprise with significant depth and breadth in capabilities, reach, and impact in helping physicians to treat patients."

The cash helps Courtagen at a pivotal moment as it looks to ramp up development for its products. The company has worked hard to beef up operations this past year, inking deals with industry players and unveiling new products to generate positive momentum. In March, Courtagen launched its new genetic test, lysoSEEK, to pinpoint genes associated with potentially treatable lysosomal storage disorders. In April, the company said it would team up with Pronto Diagnostics and Medica Labs to distribute its sequencing products for neurological and metabolic disorders, expanding its international reach.

And Courtagen is no stranger to investor cash, roping in $7 million in a Series A round in August 2010 to bolster its work with protein biomarkers. In 2011, the company raised $8 million from 67 investors to increase R&D. Courtagen's commitment to new technology combined with its gene sequencing know-how was enough to bring investors to the table for the latest financing, Mark DeBlois, managing partner of Bunker Hill Capital, said in a statement.

"Courtagen is led by an exceptional management team that has successfully executed similar strategies and delivered superior returns to shareholders previously," DeBlois said. "The (company's) deep and technical knowledge of gene sequencing as a service and their proven ability to target and commercialize clearly defined new markets were critical factors in our decision to invest in Courtagen."

- read Courtagen's statement
- here's the Bunker Hill Capital release