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UPDATE: Signature Bioscience to Build Drug Discovery Infrastructure with $43M Placement

NEW YORK, July 9 - Having raised $43 million in a private placement, Signature Bioscience now hopes to complete its transition from early-stage technology company to provider of drug discovery services, CEO Mark McDade told GenomeWeb Monday.

In addition to hiring new staff and signing on a partner to build instrumentation for the company's Multipole Coupling Spectroscopy (MCS) technology, Signature is also looking to acquire one to two businesses within the next six months to fill out its capabilities in biology and chemistry, McDade said.

The company has already began evaluating potentail acqiusitions, McDade said, and plans to target companies that can help Signature identify potential drug targets and design synthetic compounds to interact with them.

Signature's MCS technology uses radio frequency waves to study protein structure and drug-protein interactions without requiring researchers to label individual proteins. McDade said the technology also allows researchers to probe drug-protein interactions in real-time and in in vivo -like environments.

"We've worked pretty hard to commercially validate our technology," McDade said. "Now we're in serious negotiations with an instrumentation partner to build an internal supply of [MCS] benchtop equipment."

Three months ago, the Hayward, Calif-based company hired David Spellmeyer, a former executive director of DuPont Pharmaceuticals' Research Laboratory, to become the chief scientific officer and vice president of drug discovery at Signature.

New investors in the fourth round of financing included SG Capital Partners, Vulcan Ventures, MDS Capital Group, China Development Industrial Bank, Tallwood Venture Capital, Lehman Brothers, Lotus Bioscience Ventures, and IRR. With the help of current investors Prospect Venture Partners, and others, the company has so far raised a total of $64 million in venture capital funding since it was founded in 1998.