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MiRNA Firm Firefly BioWorks Raises $2M

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – MicroRNA-based technology startup Firefly BioWorks has raised about $2 million in a private financing, which it plans to use to test its platform directed at cancer-related research.

Firefly co-founder and CEO Davide Marini, told GenomeWeb Daily News that the company plans to test the product with a select group of researchers to assess its utility but declined to provide further details. He also declined to identify investors in the round.

According to a document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, 18 investors participated in the financing.

During the summer, the Cambridge, Mass.-based firm received a $2 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop its platform. At the time, Firefly said that it was introducing an open platform for the development and use of multiplexed biological assays on standard laboratory instruments.

The initial products will consist of encoded hygrogel microparticles that can be read on standard flow cytometers, microarray readers, and fluorescence microscopes, it added.

Firefly's technology was developed in the laboratory of Patrick Doyle, an associate professor of chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and uses barcoded gel microparticles "that are rapidly custom-synthesized using a groundbreaking combination of microfluidics and photolithography" that allows "graphical encoding and incorporation of biofunctional probes to occur in one step," the company said on its website.

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