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GE Among Investors in NanoString's $20M Financing Round

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – NanoString Technologies today said that it has raised $20 million in a Series D round of financing.

Among the new investors in the firm is GE, through its healthymagination Fund, as well as former Genzyme Chairman and CEO Henri Termeer. All previous investors in the firm, including Clarus Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and OVP Venture Partners, also participated in the financing round.

Seattle-based NanoString said that it will use the funds to grow its life science tools business as well as support development of its first molecular diagnostic product — a breast cancer assay based on expression of the PAM50 gene signature. NanoString expects to report results from the first clinical study on the assay at the 2011 San Antonio Brest Cancer Symposium next month.

NanoString makes the nCounter Analysis System, a fully-automated, digital gene-expression tool that can multiplex hundreds of genes per sample and detect and count single molecules. The firm launched the system in 2008 and provides assays for gene expression, miRNA analysis, and copy number variation applications.

It recently launched a second-generation version of the nCounter and plans to seek US Food and Drug Administration clearance of that system along with the breast cancer assay for clinical use.

In an interview with GenomeWeb Daily News in January, NanoString President and CEO Brad Gray said, "The overall vision is to become the platform of choice for FDA approved in vitro diagnostic tests that are based on multiplex gene expression profiling in cancer."

GE said that the investment is the first made by its healthymagination Fund that is aligned with its recently announced $1 billion commitment to new oncology R&D. It didn't disclose the amount it invested in NanoString, however.

"NanoString is a good strategic fit with GE Healthcare, given our common focus on oncology," Pascale Witz, president and CEO of GE Healthcare's Medical Diagnostics business, said in a statement. "We believe NanoString's nCounter system gives researchers the potential to take basic biomarker discoveries into the clinic. We look forward to exploring ways to collaborate with the NanoString team."

"This financing has brought both growth capital and a constellation of healthcare leaders into NanoString's orbit," Gray said in the statement. "We look forward to applying these new funds and relationships to growing the installed base for our nCounter research platform, and in parallel, advancing our molecular diagnostics program through clinical development and regulatory approval."

Two years ago NanoString raised $30 million in a Series C financing round.

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