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Illumina Ventures Leads €16M Series A Investment in Digital PCR Firm Stilla Technologies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Stilla Technologies announced today that it has completed a €16 million ($18.3 million) Series A financing round led by Illumina Ventures.

Kurma Partners, LBO France, BNP Paribas Développement, Paris Saclay Seeds, and Idinvest Partners also participated in the round.

Stilla said it will use the funds to commercialize its Naica digital PCR system and to develop clinical applications. Specifically, the firm will aim to accelerate sales of Naica, launch a second-generation solution, and begin the process of clinically validating panels to be run on the system, with an initial focus in oncology, Stilla Cofounder and CEO Rémi Dangla said in a statement.

The Naica system integrates droplet formation and amplification in a single instrument and has three-color readout capabilities to enable multiplexing. The firm is also developing six-color capabilities for the system.

Dangla also noted that the Naica system is enabling researchers worldwide to build "a new generation of high-precision genetic tests for a wide variety of applications, such as liquid biopsy tests for cancer diagnostics, pre-natal testing, or GMO detection."

As part of the financing, Nick Naclerio from Illumina Ventures, Philippe Peltier from Kurma Partners, and Philippe Chambon from LBO France will join Stilla's board of directors, replacing seed investors.

"The Stilla team has done an amazing job developing and launching the Naica system in Europe and Asia with a very limited amount of seed financing," Naclerio said in a statement. "With these additional resources, we believe that Stilla Technologies can become a global leader in digital PCR and the lowest-cost platform for liquid biopsies."

Illumina Ventures is an independently-managed venture firm in a strategic partnership with Illumina. It most recently invested in Luna DNA, a firm providing custom cryptocurrency to reward individuals for sharing their biological and medical information.

The digital PCR space now appears poised to become more competitive in the future with the recent announcement that Roche is developing a six-channel digital PCR system.