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Stratos Hits Milestone, Raises $15M from Roche, Fisk Ventures to Complete Series B Financing

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) — Stratos Genomics said today that after reaching a technical milestone last month, it will receive an additional $10 million from Roche and another $5 million from Fisk Ventures.

The investments complete a $30 million Series B financing round, of which Stratos received $15 million a year ago. At that time, Roche invested $5 million in Stratos and struck a two-year research collaboration with the firm.

Stratos said it reached its milestone by demonstrating nanopore sequencing with its proprietary expandable nucleotides, called X-NTPs.

"The milestone sequencing results are promising," Vinod Makhijani, vice president and project leader for sequencing business development at Roche, said in a statement. "While several technical challenges remain on the path towards commercial readiness, we're optimistic about our ability to tackle them with the joint expertise and resources of the Roche-Stratos team."

Stratos has been working on a sequencing-by-expansion (SBX) technology that first converts DNA into longer surrogate molecules, called Xpandomers, using X-NTPs, and then reads single Xpandomer molecules with nanopore or other measurement technologies.

Roche researchers have been working with Stratos scientists to develop efficient and low-cost methods for synthesizing Xpandomers, utilizing Roche's expertise in protein design, polymerase mutagenesis, modified nucleotide chemistries, and rare reagent manufacturing.

The milestone sequencing demonstration used an in-house developed DNA polymerase to incorporate X-NTPs and is "a significant advancement for the company," according to Stratos.

"With the fundamental processes in place, our focus is now on optimizing for commercial level performance," Stratos President and CSO Mark Kokoris said in the statement.

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