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Genicon Sciences Completes $32 Million in Financing

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Genicon Sciences, a San Diego company that has developed a light-based technology to detect biological interactions on microarrays, has completed $32 million in a round of private financing.

Genicon plans to use the funding to commercialize its Resonance Light Scattering (RLS) technology, which it plans to package and launch as a product for microarrays in the first quarter of 2002, said Genicon CEO Patrick Mallon.

“The RLS technology is being bundled in a bench top toolkit that will be put into a microarray slide or membrane, or whatever technology a researcher is using,” Mallon said.

Genicon currently has partnerships with Incyte to develop antibody arrays using RLS, Pall Corporation to develop membrane assays, and Ventana Medical Systems to create an integrated genomic discovery system. The genomic discovery system, which Genicon and Ventana plan to introduce in late 2001, automatically hybridizes samples onto an array then uses RLS to detect gene expression differences.

The company is also currently “in the process of determining” an exclusive distributor for its RLS-based microarray toolkit, and “in the process of working with value added researchers who have their own pre-spotted chip, such as Incyte or Agilent or Corning,” Mallon said.

RLS involves tiny light scattering particles that preferentially refract certain wavelengths of light. A target molecule can be infused with these particles instead of being labeled with chemiluminescent or fluorescent proteins. Different light scattering particles can be designed to emit specific colors of light.

RLS is currently between 30-and 100-fold more sensitive than Cy3 or Cy5 dyes, said Mallon. Other advantages include the fact that “you also don’t get bleaching or quenching and you are able to standardized and normalize it,” Mallon said.

The RLS kit will be designed for use with an RLS imaging and analysis instrument that will sell for less than $20,000. This instrument, which is currently in beta sites, will also launch in the first quarter of 2002.

The investors in the series D round of financing include TVM Life Science Ventures, IngleWood Ventures, Audax Ventures, CMEA, GIMV and Radius Ventures; as well as Utah Ventures, Forward Ventures, and Oxford Bioscience, which also participated in previous rounds of financing.

— MMJ

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