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NanoInk Raises $65M as BioDiscovery Division Plans New Protein Array Products, Applications


By Justin Petrone

NanoInk this week announced the closing of $65 million financing round led by Lurie Investments. The firm said it will use the funds to convert outstanding debt to equity and to expand its commercial activities across its four business divisions, including its BioDiscovery business, which sells instruments for making protein arrays as well as protein array kits.

"The funds raised from the recent financing will be used to support and expand all of NanoInk's dip pen nanolithography businesses, including the Nano BioDiscovery division," said Bruce Dudzik, the firm's senior director for business development.

Dudzik told BioArray News this week that NanoInk is "continuing to work on developing new products and applications for Nano BioDiscovery."

Established in 2001, NanoInk launched its BioDiscovery division in December 2008 to commercialize its dip pen nanolithography-fabrication technique as a way to produce protein assays. DPN is a method of nanofabrication in which a sharp probe spots a biomolecule onto a surface.

In February 2009, NanoInk BioDiscovery launched a desktop nanoarray-fabrication system called the NLP 2000, and in September of that year began offering protein array contract-research services.

This year, the Skokie, Ill.-based firm moved into the catalog-array market. In February, NanoInk launched a human inflammation cytokine profiling assay, and in June, the firm discussed three new catalog assays in development that are being designed to profile proteins associated with angiogenesis and Alzheimer's disease, and for drug-toxicity monitoring in rodents (BAN 6/1/2010).

The angiogenesis kit will be available in November and the toxicology kits are planned for release in the first part of next year, Dudzik said this week. The company does not have a planned release date at this time for the Alzheimer's kit as this assay-development program is "associated with a collaboration with a confidential pharma company."

The Alzheimer's panel is being designed to enable researchers to profile two proteins associated with the disease: Abeta 42 and tau. The firm has claimed that the kit, when it becomes available, could be used to separate individuals with Alzheimer's from those with other neurodegenerative disorders when conducting clinical trials for Alzheimer's therapeutics.

In addition to its BioDiscovery business, NanoInk plans investments in its other divisions. The firm maintains a NanoFabrication Systems Division that provides desktop instrumentation and application expertise for current and future applications of DPN; a NanoStem Cell Division focused on stem cell patterning; a NanoProfessor Division that provides nanotechnology education instruments and materials for undergraduates; and a NanoGuardian Division that offers NanoEncryption technology to offer pharmaceutical customers to fight counterfeiting and illegal diversion.

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