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Cell-based Assay Firm Odyssey Thera Raises $2.8M

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Biotech firm Odyssey Thera has raised $2.8 million and initiated a research service contract with Merck, it announced on Thursday.

The financing, consisting of new funds and debt conversion, will go toward the development and expanded commercialization of the San Ramon, Calif.-based company's technologies and products.

Participants in the round include Merck, HBM Partners, Burrill & Co., and Lonza.

Odyssey has developed technology that measures disease-relevant pathway activity in living human cells. Called protein-fragment complementation assays, or PCA, the technology allows researchers to visualize, quantify, and localize within live cells protein-protein complexes. Proteins can be exogenously expressed at low levels within living cells and their activity can be studied "within their native biological context," the firm said on its website.

"The support from current and new investors will expedite commercialization of Odyssey Thera technologies," John Westwick, president and CEO of the company, said in a statement. "We look forward to supporting Merck and other leading discovery and development programs with these validated capabilities."

Terms of the deal with Merck were not disclosed. The drug firm has collaborated with Odyssey for the past several years, and in 2008 it was the lead investor in an equity funding round by Odyssey.