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PCR-based diagnosis of infections can delay treatment decisions by days or hours because the method relies on technical expertise and equipment not available in most point-of-care settings. Xagenic Inc.‘s chip-based arrays use a non-PCR, electrochemical approach to diagnose bacterial infections at the point of care in 20 minutes with PCR-like accuracy.
Xagenic’s core technology is a silicon chip containing an array of gold microelectrodes electroplated with three-dimensional nanostructures of gold or palladium. Each electrode carries a probe that is complementary to a single bacterial nucleic acid sequence (DNA or RNA), and each chip can detect at least 100 different gene targets.
Xagenic successfully raised $10 million through series A financing earlier this year via private and public sector investors, including the CTI Life Sciences Fund L.P., Qiagen N.V. and the Ontario Capital Growth Corporation through its Emerging Technologies Fund.
The company is the first MaRS Innovation spin-off to reach series A financing.
To get to that point, MI staff worked with University of Toronto professors and company co-founders Dr. Shana Kelley and Dr. Ted Sargent to protect their IP, refine their strategic direction, incorporate and launch Xagenic, create proof-of-concept models and advance the business to the point where it was ready to seek external investment.
“Xagenic’s success demonstrates the strength of MaRS Innovation’s financing and business development model,” said Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO of MaRS Innovation.
“Xagenic sought seed feeding well after the 2008 recession when the funding climate was dark. MI spearheaded a great creative fundraising effort involving the University of Toronto and Boston College to meet their needs. We anticipate Xagenic is only the first of many such successes to emerge from our portfolio’s life sciences section.”
Xagenic has raised a total of $12.2 million to date and currently employs 14 people.