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IntegenX Acquires GenVault, Raises $15.6M

By Tony Fong

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Sample preparation firm IntegenX today said that it has acquired biosample storage firm GenVault. It also announced it has raised $15.6 million in a financing round.

Stevan Jovanovich, president and CEO of IntegenX, declined to disclose the terms of the deal but said the purchase moves the company further upstream in the sequencing market.

GenVault started out as a biobanking firm with robotic systems handling millions of samples. "That business model really didn't work out — the market didn't develop as quickly as they hoped for," Jovanovich told GenomeWeb Daily News.

Along the way, though, the company developed the GenTegra DNA technology for stabilizing DNA biosamples with antimicrobial activity for dry, room temperature transport and biobanking.

As IntegenX has developed sample-to-answer applications, the GenTegra product line "will increase the quality and value of data produced by IntegenX's integrated sample preparation systems," the company said in a statement.

Howard Goldstein, executive vice president for commercial affairs at IntegenX, added that as next-generation sequencing becomes more mainstream, one issue that is becoming increasingly pervasive is the stability of biosamples. The GenTegra products seek to address this.

"The reality is there hasn't been a good approach to stabilizing these samples and most of the instrumentation companies … have not really paid any attention to this," he told GWDN.

Based in Carlsbad, Calif., GenVault offered storage and management services for biosamples. Its services were mostly for DNA and RNA, but it has been developing technology directed at proteins. That development work will continue, Jovanovich said.

GenVault is now a subsidiary of IntegenX and will remain based in Carlsbad, Jovanovich said. The deal closed on Jan. 31.

Eric Holmlin, who had been GenVault's president and CEO, was named today to those posts at genomics firm BioNanomatrix.

In addition to the acquisition, IntegenX, based in Pleasanton, Calif., announced the close of a $15.6 million financing round, led by Domain Associates along with other existing investors, such as Rona Syndicates and In-Q-Tel.

GenVault investors QuestMark Partners, Cross Creek Partners, and Greenspring Associates also are now investors in IntegenX.

The funds will be used to commercialize the Apollo 324 System for next-gen sequencing library preparation, development of the Apollo 200 RapidHit System for DNA-based human identification, and worldwide marketing of the GenTegra product line.

IntegenX was formerly called Microchip Biotechnologies. In late 2009, it raised $18.1 million in a Series B round.