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454 Raises $20M to Commercialize Its Novel Gene-Sequencing Technology

NEW YORK, Sept. 18 (GenomeWeb News) - 454 Life Sciences has raised $20 million from parent company CuraGen and from existing shareholder Cooper Hill Partners to help it commercialize its whole genome-sequencing technology, 454 said today.


CuraGen, which owns a majority share in 454, led the investment with $16 million in financing. The investment increases to 66 percent CuraGen's stake in the company.

Jonathan Rothberg, president, CEO, and chairman of CuraGen, said the investment, which has a "relatively short time horizon, ... will help CuraGen further enhance its ... oncology program."


Last month, 454 submitted to GenBank the whole-genome sequence of adenovirus, marking the first time that a new sequence technology has been used to sequence a complete genome since 1977.


The sequence was generated in less than one day using the first technology ever designed to sequence whole genomes rather than one gene at a time, according to 454.


454 said it was required to prepare the adenovirus a single time as opposed to hundreds of sample preparations required by traditional sequencing methods.


The company's technology provided greater than 99 percent coverage of the virus, whose genome contains around 30,000 base pairs. The entire process from sample preparation to data analysis was accomplished in less then one day, 454 said.


"We anticipate that the commercialization of [this] technology for sequencing whole viral and bacterial genomes may address some of the most urgent needs in drug discovery, biodefense, and the growing threat of emerging pathogens," Richard Begley, president and CEO of 454, said in a statement at the time.

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