University of Toronto molecular Dx spinout pulls in $18.8M Series B

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A University of Toronto spinout nailed down $18.8 million in a Series B financing that will help advance its rapid-use molecular diagnostic technology through U.S. regulatory approval and commercial sales.

Xagenic, which launched in 2010, is aiming for FDA approval in 2015 for its AuRA platform, Chief Technology Officer Shana Kelley told FierceMedicalDevices via email. Funding will also propel development of various diagnostic tests focused on infectious diseases and help expand the company's push for more partnerships.

Xagenic's technology is completely automated and designed to give physicians' offices and clinics the ability to handle molecular diagnostic testing, reducing reliance on outside laboratories. It relies, in part, on nanostructured microelectrodes so clinicians can conduct rapid, enzyme-free direct detection of nucleic acids from clinical specimens, no sample extraction needed. All of that, plus a disposable cartridge, is designed to produce results within about 20 minutes, the company said.

Xagenic's emergence is well timed as healthcare systems focus more on delivering quality as well as cost-effective treatments. As high-quality molecular diagnostic and genetic testing becomes cheaper, more accessible and easier to use, companies are pushing hard to develop diagnostic systems that can be incorporated into daily medical care.

Xagenic Executive Chairman Bruce Cohen said in a statement that Xagenic's cost "is more than an order of magnitude lower than that of any other molecular diagnostic platform, which will finally make molecular testing approachable for physician offices and clinics."

Domain Associates led the round, which also included existing investors CTI Life Sciences Fund and the Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund.

- read the release

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