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PopGenTech Raises $5.7M, Will Collaborate with Syngenta on Plant Breeding Studies


Population Genetics Technology has raised $5.7 million in a Series B financing round, which will enable the company to complete ongoing biological validation of its technology to improve the accuracy of variant calling in next-generation sequencing.

As part of the fundraising, new investor Syngenta will collaborate with PopGenTech to validate the use of its technology in plant breeding studies. Other investors include Compass Genetics Investors, the Wellcome Trust, Auriga Partners, and Beringea.

Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, head of biotechnology for Syngenta, said in a statement that PopGenTech's technology will "allow us to simultaneously characterize the molecular basis for complex multigenic traits across very large numbers of lines in one test tube," which will help in "reducing the cost and complexity of the analysis."

PopGenTech's technology, which it described in April in Nucleic Acid Research, focuses on differentiating between true variants and errors introduced during amplification prior to sequencing (IS 5/10/2011).

According to the company, its technology will improve the "identification and statistical validation of sequence variants associated with phenotypic traits, be they disease pre-dispositions or drug responses in medicine, or even, soon, important agronomic plant traits."

The company has already secured several partnerships in the human health area. For example, it is collaborating with biopharmaceutical services company Quintiles on a renal cancer clinical trial to identify genetic markers that are predictive of adverse events and efficacy (CSN 5/17/2011).

It is also collaborating with researchers at Cardiff University to analyze suspected Alzheimer's genes from 1,000 patients and 500 controls.