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Bay Area Startup Unchained Labs Grabs $25 Million and Closes First Acquisition

2/12/2015 6:47:00 AM

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By Riley McDermid, Breaking News Sr. Editor

Pleasanton, Calif.-based life sciences biotech startup Unchained Labs has received its first round of funding, today announcing it has closed a Series A funding round of $25 million led by Novo Ventures, Canaan Partners and TPG Biotech.

Unchained also said Thursday that it had purchased Optim, the world's first and only multiplex protein stability platform for biologics, which it said it will use to measure protein stability parameters as it continues its work on biologics and related therapies.

Well know life sciences entrepreneur Tim Harkness is the founder and chief executive officer of Unchained Labs, and venture capitalists involved in the funding said Thursday his past experiences with the other companies was key. Harkness sold ProteinSimple, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based protein analysis startup, for $300 million last year to Techne Corp. (NASDAQ: TECH).
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"We had a great experience with Tim in the life science tools space in the past and we believe there is a real opportunity to build another substantial company together," said Jack Nielsen from Novo Ventures, who also invested in ProteinSimple. "Combining organic and inorganic growth has proven to be a powerful strategy for creating value in this space and we can't wait to see Unchained Labs grow."

Unchained Labs is billing itself as a life sciences tools company, with a goal to snap up product lines and related businesses as a way to weed out poor performers earlier in the clinical trial timeline.

The company from which it bought Optim, British firm Avacta Group plc, has sold more than 60 of the Optim units to biopharmaceutical companies and academic researchers since 2010.

For his part, Harkness said he was delighted to be involved in another young Silicon Valley company, particularly and the biotech sector continues to boom across the capital markets.

"I love what I do and I am completely pumped about building another great tools company," said Harkness. "For me this is all about people. The right group of people can accomplish anything, and we are starting out with fantastic investors and employees who are committed to creating something special together. Optim is a one-of-a-kind product that will provide a solid foundation for us."

BioSpace Temperature Poll
Who Do You Think Will Be Sanofi’s New CEO? French drugmaker Sanofi said Thursday that it will name a new chief executive in mere weeks, as it attempted to put to rest rumors that the company could not find any executives willing to take the reins after it unceremoniously ousted its previous CEO last fall. Who do you think will soon be crowned king? BioSpace wants your opinion!

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