Last week Molecular Mining completed its second round of financing, securing over $8 million. The round was led by CDP Sofinov, a subsidiary of the Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec.
Other investors included the Business Development Bank of Canada; S.R. One, a subsidiary of GlaxoSmithKline; Cardinal Partners; and CMDF Queen’s Scientific Breakthrough Fund.
S.R. One and Cardinal Partners also participated in Molecular Mining’s initial $2 million round of financing in March 1999.
Evan Steeg, CEO of Molecular Mining, said the company directed its first round of funding to building its technology platform, completing a number of pilot projects, and launching its first gene expression analysis product, GeneLinker Gold.
“Now we need to go ahead,” Steeg said. “There’s been a lot of industry discussion around what are the best business models for genomics and bioinformatics — is it selling tools, is it doing collaborations, is it mining your own data — we think there’s value in all three and our investors do as well, so they’ve invested in us going forward aggressively on all three.”
The new funding will accelerate the development of the next release of GeneLinker Gold, which uses publicly available clustering algorithms, as well as GeneLinker Platinum and Diamond, which will offer proprietary technology.
Steeg said that hiring would also be a “major initiative” for the company, which intends to double its current staff of around 30 in the coming year. In addition to Molecular Mining’s Kingston, Ontario, headquarters, Steeg said the company would be opening a new office “in one of the obvious biotech hubs on the Eastern US seaboard.”
New hires will include a direct sales force in the US and Europe, software developers, and interdisciplinary scientists. The company will also be adding to its senior management staff, Steeg said.
The company is also forging ahead with new partnerships and alliances. “We’re signing distributor relationships for much of the rest of the world now for our GeneLinker software as well as getting into some interesting OEM and co-marketing collaborations which are under discussions now,” Steeg said.
Steeg said Molecular Mining’s indirect tie to GlaxoSmithKline through SR One places no constraints on deals that should be made with the parent company or should not be made with competitors of the parent company. However, he said, “It has helped us get in touch with key people within that organization and we are in discussions with them always about potential synergies.”
Molecular Mining is also talking with a number of other drug companies and doing several pilot projects, Steeg said.
In addition to its Series A and B funding rounds, Molecular Mining has applied for several grants from the US and Canadian governments.