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Forensic Genomics Firm Othram Raises $4M

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) — Forensic genomics startup Othram said today that it has raised $4 million in Series A financing. Nimble Ventures, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, led the round.

Othram said it has also been awarded a $10,000 research sequencing grant from Illumina Accelerator, Illumina's business incubator.

Based in The Woodlands, Texas, Othram operates a forensic DNA sequencing laboratory that specializes in reconstructing genome sequences from degraded or low-input source material. The company is currently focused on applying its technology to identify human remains as part of humanitarian efforts.

One pilot partner is the DNA Jane Doe Project, a nonprofit initiative that works with law enforcement agencies and medical examiners to identify unidentified human remains. Othram is providing the initiative with access to its whole-genome sequencing service.

Othram CEO David Mittelman said in a statement that the firm is using its laboratory and informatics platform "for public good, by helping to name the nameless, and bringing closure for heartbroken families."

Mittelman previously served as CSO at Tute Genomics, which was acquired by PierianDx in 2016. Before that, he was a partner and CSO at Houston, Texas-based Gene by Gene. He also cofounded and served at CSO at Arpeggi, a sequencing analytics firm, prior to its acquisition by Gene by Gene in 2013.

Othram said it foresees applications in not only criminal investigations but also defense and security, and potentially in the clinic. Nick Griggs, Othram's director of sales, said in a statement that Othram "certainly has future plans to explore research and clinical applications" for its technology.