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MEMS Chip Company Molecular Reflections Raises $14.2 Million

NEW YORK, May 7 – Molecular Reflections, a San Diego startup that develops Micro Electro Mechanical Systems chips for high throughput screening in proteomics and drug development, said Monday it has raised $7.2 million in financing and secured commitments for an additional $7 million in milestone payments.

Forward Ventures of San Diego led the round of financing, with Oxford Biosciences and ProQuest Ventures signing on as new investors. Sorrento Ventures and Oxcal Ventures, which have previously invested in the company, participated as well. 

Oxford Biosciences said it chose to fund Molecular Reflections because the company already has a MEMS prototype in production for high throughput screening of pharmaceutical lead compounds and has produced previous MEMS applications. 

The venture capitalists at Oxford and Forward Ventures also said they believe MEMS technology will reduce the costs of high throughput screening by as much as a factor of 10.

"Molecular Reflections' technology will drive down labor and reagent costs and provide a new platform for drug development and proteomics,” Jeff Sollender, a managing member at Forward Ventures, said in a statement. “This interface of biologic data mining with chemistry continues to be of major relevance and addresses one of the most important pharmaceutical development needs." 

The MEMS device, which binds biomolecules without fluoresecent labeling, integrates wet lab work with informatics on an electronic silicon structure. MEMS devices are already used in air bags and computer printers as well as in portable projectors. The company is developing the tiny electronic circuitry of these devices to simultaneously process thousands of compounds on a single chip.

The company said it plans to use the technology to develop its management and technology team and expand its laboratory facilities.

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