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GEN News Highlights : Nov 7, 2011

NanoString Scores $20M Series D Financing to Progress Diagnostic Platform

nCounter is currently available for research use only, but firm is working on a breast cancer test.

NanoString Technologies reports the closing of a $20 million Series D round of equity financing. The proceeds of the financing will be used to grow NanoString’s life science tools business as well as advance the development of the company’s first molecular diagnostic product, a breast cancer assay based on the PAM50 gene expression signature. 

This investment in NanoString represents the first by GE’s healthymagination Fund that is aligned with GE Healthcare’s recently announced $1 billion commitment to new oncology R&D. “NanoString is a good strategic fit with GE Healthcare, given our common focus on oncology,” notes Pascale Witz, president and CEO of GE Healthcare’s medical diagnostics business. “We believe NanoString’s nCounter® Analysis System gives researchers the potential to take basic biomarker discoveries into the clinic.”

Other new investors include BioMed Ventures and Henri Termeer, former chairman and CEO of Genzyme. All previous venture investors in NanoString also participated in the financing, including Clarus Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and OVP Venture Partners.

The nCounter Analysis System is currently available for research use only and was introduced in 2008. The firm provides assays for gene expression, miRNA analysis, and copy number variation. It is a fully automated, multi-application digital detection and counting system. It reportedly delivers multiplexed, direct profiling of individual molecules in a single reaction without amplification.

NanoString recently launched its second-generation nCounter system, which includes the hardware upon which the company will pursue regulatory clearance for its breast cancer subtyping assay and other molecular diagnostic assays.