Google leads SynapDx's $15.4M funding round

CEO Stan Lapidus--Courtesy of SynapDx

SynapDx has wrapped up $15.4 million in new funding to help advance a 660-patient study of the company's autism blood test that began enrollment in April. The Massachusetts startup turned to Google Ventures to lead the round.

Foundation Medical Partners also participated in the financing, along with existing investors North Bridge Venture Partners and General Catalyst Partners.

Venture funding sources for device and diagnostics companies have declined in recent years, and investment rounds remain a struggle for many. But SynapDx CEO Stan Lapidus told FierceMedicalDevices that his company had a relatively easy time after a certain point.

"We were oversubscribed at the end," he said. "Many investors who have made investments in diagnostics and devices in the past have moved on, but they have been replaced with a new and different group that are much more strategic in their background."

Lapidus said that the investment picture was awful at the beginning of the year, a period he called "the coldest January of my life." But then the company separately drew in  $2 million from LabCorp and formed a partnership with gene sequencer Illumina ($ILMN) to develop diagnostic tools for autism spectrum disorders. Both milestones made SynapDx's new funding round a whole lot easier, he said.

"We were actively out in March, April, May and a little bit of June, working the mechanics of the round," Lapidus said. "The market changed."

Google is among the company's more intriguing new investors. Google executive Andrew Conrad was LabCorp's chief scientific officer and co-founded its National Genetics Institute. As VentureWire reports, he introduced SynapDx to Google. With the funding, he takes a seat on the company's board of directors.

SynapDx, launched only in 2010, recently attracted an undisclosed amount of financing from The Kraft Group. Back in December, it raised another $6 million.

The clinical trial is now under way and is designed to evaluate the measurement of RNA expression differences in order to properly diagnose children at risk for autism spectrum disorders. Autistic children often lack a definitive diagnosis until age 4 or older, but the test is designed to help solidify a diagnosis much sooner, with early intervention boosting the chance that therapy can succeed.

SynapDx's will submit its test through the CLIA certification process.

- read the release
- here's VentureWire's take
- check out Xconomy's coverage

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