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Biocartis Raises $84M, Forms JV with Pronota

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Biocartis announced today that it has raised €64.5 million ($84 million) in a round of private financing.

The Mechelen, Belgium molecular diagnostics firm also said that it has formed a joint venture with Pronota and has spun off its DMAT platform to the new company.

Biocartis said the new funding will support the firm's commercial roll-out of its Idylla platform in Europe later this year, and enable it to expand its commercial reach beyond Europe. Idylla is a fully automated sample-in, result-out molecular diagnostics platform and is Biocartis' flagship instrument for in vitro diagnostic use.

Biocartis has said that it plans to launch Idylla along with a test for BRAF mutations in melanoma and other cancers in Europe in the second half of 2014. In addition, earlier this year the firm inked a deal with Abbott to develop and commercialize companion diagnostics on the platform.

The funding round included investments from Johnson & Johnson Development Corp., Hitachi Chemical, PMV Tina Fund, and other unnamed investors. Biocartis noted that to date it has raised €240 million in total funding.

"We believe this major fundraising demonstrates the support for Biocartis' ambition to make personalized medicine a truly sustainable, everyday practice," Biocartis CFO Hilde Windels said in a statement. "By intensifying the development of our assay menu, we intend to demonstrate the potential of Idylla in the fields of oncology, infectious diseases, and beyond."

The firm separately announced today that it will spin off its Swiss Evaluation business to a new joint venture that it has formed with protein diagnostics firm Pronota called MyCartis. The new JV also completed a financing round of €15 million with investments from RMM, Valliance, and Biover II.

The Evaluation platform, previously called DMAT, is a multiplex system used for rapid and cost-effective detection of protein and nucleic acid biomarkers, said Biocartis. The firm said Pronota is an "ideal match" for the platform because of its work in biomarker discovery and validation.

Pronota is a 2004 spinout from Ghent University and the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology. The firm uses mass spec-based discovery and validation platforms – called MASStermind and MASSterclass, respectively – to develop protein biomarker-based diagnostics.

MyCartis will continue development of Pronota biomarker panels to complement its own activities in Switzerland.

"This business combination with Biocartis' Evaluation platform offers the potential to capture the full value of Pronota's biomarker assets," Johan Cardoen, chairman of Pronota, said in a statement.

Paul Ladestein will serve as CEO of MyCartis. He joined Biocartis in 2013 as Evaluation business unit manager after working for Luminex.