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Boreal Genomics Raises $6.9M to Commercialize Nucleic Acid Purification System

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Boreal Genomics said this week that it has secured a Series B financing round totaling $6.9 million to accelerate the commercialization of its Aurora nucleic acid purification and concentration platform and to develop new biomolecular separation methods.

Arch Venture Partners, Kearny Venture Partners, and GrowthWorks Capital led the financing round. InQTel also participated in the financing.

Boreal, based in Vancouver, previously raised an undisclosed amount in a Series A round with participation from angel investors, including President and Co-founder Andre Marziali and Chairman Tom Willis.

Aurora is the latest version of a Boreal nucleic acid purification platform that uses a technology called synchronous coefficient of drag alteration, or SCODA, which was developed at the University of British Columbia.

SCODA uses rotating electric fields to selectively concentrate nucleic acids in a "focusing" gel and separate them from difficult contaminants such as particulate matter and PCR inhibitors. The Aurora instrument features a microtiter plate-sized disposable cassette that is plugged into a benchtop instrument about the size of a PC tower. The instrument is capable of 30-minute run times and can complete lysis through to sample purification in one automated step.

The company said that the platform is currently in beta-trial phase, and that it plans to ship instruments broadly in 2011.

Boreal has demonstrated the platform's ability to extract DNA from difficult forensic samples including blood on denim and soil; from heavy tar sands in Alberta, Canada; from 60-year-old plant leaves; and from clinical samples such as blood and urine.

As such, the company is targeting several markets for Aurora, including environmental sample processing, life science research, biodefense, and forensics. Boreal said it also envisions broadening its product offerings to the clinical research market, and expanding Aurora's throughput.

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