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GEN News Highlights : Apr 18, 2012

Plexpress to Raise up to $2.3M to Commercialize Multiplex Gene-Expression Analysis Platform

TRAC enables analysis of up to 30 gene transcripts directly from cell lysates without amplification.

Finnish firm Plexpress raised up to $2.3 million in a funding round with new and existing investors to support commercialization of its high-content gene-expression analysis platform, TRAC (transcript analysis with the aid of affinity capture), for applications including companion diagnostics and ADMET studies. The financing includes a $1.4 million initial investment plus up to $0.9 million in milestone payments.

Plexpress was established as a spin out from the Finnish Technology Research Center in 2007, to further develop and commercialize TRAC. The technology has been developed to enable high-content gene-expression analysis through the multiplex detection of gene transcripts of interest (up to 30 genes per well in 96-well plates) simultaneously from large numbers of samples.

TRAC is a magnetic bead-based technology that effectively captures mRNA directly from cell lysate, without the need for mRNA extraction or PCR amplification, the firm claims. Fully compatible with existing third party laboratory equipment, TRAC assays also require just four hours in processing time and can be fully automated for high-throughput applications.

“TRAC provides significant benefits over existing technologies such as qPCR and microarrays, which do not offer either the high throughput or the multiplexing that many genomcis researchers require,” comments Jari Rautio, Ph.D., Plexpress CEO. “This funding will enable Plexpress to pursue high value market opportunities such as companion diagnostics and ADMET.”

Plexpress currently offers a range of services based on the TRAC technology, including its FAST TRAC service for multiplex gene-expression analysis, Yeast TRAC Service, and Human ADME-Tox and Rat ADME-Tox libraries.