Japan's Quantum Biosystems raises $20M for next-gen DNA sequencer

Japan's Quantum Biosystems has reportedly raised ¥2.4 billion ($20.5 million) in venture funding in support of its superpowerful development stage DNA sequencing machine designed to decode DNA in a couple hours for $1,000.

The funding of the potential competitor to Roche ($RHHBY) and Illumina ($ILMN) comes on top of a ¥450 million ($3.8 million) round in February 2014.

In January, Quantum released raw data access reads showing that its sequencing platform is accurate in more 99% of certain DNA regions. The company says its silicon-based platform is reagent-free. And the technology's utility isn't limited to just clinical purposes.

Quantum Biosystems CEO Toshihiko Honkura

"Faster and cheaper DNA sequencing is vital to help produce the best cancer drugs for each individual," company CEO Toshihiko Honkura told Bloomberg in a prior interview. "It would be able to sequence DNA of bacteria in soil, helping farmers identify the crop types and ways of farming best suited for each plot of the farmlands."

Commercialization is slated to occur in 2017. Quantum plans to open a Silicon Valley office before that and conduct an IPO in the U.S. or Japan in 2018, according to Bloomberg.

Quantum's backers include Jafco, Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, Mizuho Capital, University of Tokyo Edge Capital and Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, according to Bloomberg, which cited an unnamed source with knowledge of the company.

If successful, the company's fourth-generation technology would epitomize the advances in genome sequencing ever since the human genome was first published. The Bloomberg article points out that the feat took 13 years and cost $3 billion.

- here's the Bloomberg article

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