Xagenic Inc. has successfully closed a Series B financing round totaling $20 million. New investor Domain Associates, LLC, led the round, joined by existing investors who include CTI Life Sciences Fund and the Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund.
Xagenic is MaRS Innovation’s first start-up company and it is developing the first lab-free molecular diagnostic platform with a 20-minute time-to-result based on University of Toronto research by professors Shana Kelley and Edward Sargent. The platform which is called the AuRA™ (Amplified Redox Assay) technology uses patent-protected nanostructured microelectrodes to permit rapid, enzyme-free, direct detection of nucleic acids from clinical specimens without the need for sample extraction. The entire workflow is automated on a disposable cartridge that runs on a small, easy-to-use system that enables on-demand, near patient molecular testing, empowering clinicians to make treatment decisions for their patients at the time of first consultation.
“Xagenic has developed a truly revolutionary diagnostic platform that will drive molecular testing out of the high complexity lab and to the point-of-care,” commented Bruce Cohen, executive Chair at Xagenic. “The cost of adoption of the Xagenic platform 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.”
Dr. Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO of MaRS Innovation served as Xagenic’s first chairman and CEO from 2010 to 2012. Other MaRS Innovation staff filled key positions during the company’s earliest days, wrote its business development plan and assisted in building a team to design Xagenic’s operational AURA prototype.
“Xagenic’s success reflects the merits of investing locally to retain highly-skilled jobs,” says Hofstein. “Xagenic now employs 25 people, but if MaRS Innovation and others in Canada had not been here to support it, those jobs would almost certainly be located elsewhere.”
MaRS Innovation provided intellectual property protection and other key strategic investments in Xagenic’s technology during its pre-seed stage, and led a seed-stage financing round that raised $2.2 million. Other seed-stage investors included the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund (MaRS IAF), and the Health Technologies Exchange (HTX).
That seed investment paved the road to Xagenic’s $10 million Series A round in January 2012 and the current $20 million Series B round, the proceeds from which will support ongoing development and clinical studies as Xagenic seeks to achieve regulatory approval and commercialize its molecular diagnostic testing platform and lead diagnostic assay.
In conjunction with the financing, Jesse Treu, PhD, Partner at Domain Associates, will join Xagenic’s Board of Directors.