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Diagnoplex Closes $8.3 Million Series A Financing  
12/10/2008 6:36:12 AM

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, December 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Diagnoplex, a developer of molecular cancer diagnostics today announced the closing of a Series A financing raising CHF10 million ($8.3 million). The A-round was led by Novartis Venture Fund and NeoMed, with Initiative Capital Romandie acting as co-investor. The Novartis Venture Fund was also a seed investor in the company. BCCC Avocats acted as counsel to the investors and BMP Associés acted as counsel to the company.

In connection with the financing, Anja König, Ph.D., a Managing Director of Novartis Venture Fund, and Thomas Goebel, Ph.D., a Principal at NeoMed, will join Diagnoplex' board of directors, while Claude Suard, Partner at DEFI Gestion, will join the board as an observer.

Diagnoplex technology platform

Leveraging its unique and proprietary molecular platform capabilities, Diagnoplex develops blood-based cancer diagnostics. Diagnoplex' single-channel quantitative multiplex reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (scqmRT-PCR) yields the quantification of copy number obtained with real-time PCR, and allows quantifying up to 60 genes simultaneously. The scqmRT-PCR platform offers several important competitive advantages. It pairs the high accuracy and reliability of PCR with the possibility to read out multi-gene signatures of different cancers. As opposed to microarray platforms, it is easily scalable and can be run in most standard testing laboratories. Stavros Therianos, PhD, founder and chief executive officer of Diagnoplex, developed the platform during his tenure at Rochester University, NY.

Diagnoplex lead product - Colox

Diagnoplex will use the proceeds from the financing to support the further clinical development of its lead product Colox, a non-invasive test for the early detection of colon cancer, which will be made available as a ready-to-use clinical laboratory kit. Early results obtained in a training set of 140 patients have shown that the power of the molecular platform allows Colox to detect even the pre-cancerous stage of adenoma. Early detection and intervention by colonoscopy can have an important impact on the epidemiology of colon cancer, one of the main causes of cancer related mortality in the western world. It is estimated that survival rates improve to 90% when colorectal cancer is detected early.

"We are excited to be working with Diagnoplex on developing their technology for the non-invasive detection of colon cancer. Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of death and early detection makes a huge difference in patient survival. Since compliance with guidelines for screening with colonoscopy is poor, too many cases are detected too late. The need for non-invasive screening is tremendous," said Anja König.

"Diagnoplex is targeting a very exciting market opportunity for molecular diagnostics. With the rise of personalized medicine, this is one of the healthcare areas with vast market potential that is currently underserved. We believe that Diagnoplex will be a leader in this important field," said Thomas Goebel.

"We are excited to welcome a high quality group of investors and look forward to working with this outstanding syndicate to bring powerful new cancer screening approaches to bear on the early detection of cancer," said Stavros Therianos, Ph.D., chief executive officer and founder of Diagnoplex.

About Novartis Venture Fund

Novartis Venture Fund, established in 1996, has currently over $650 million under management and is invested in more than 50 private companies. The Novartis Venture Fund invests in companies which have the potential to lead the next innovation wave in core therapeutic fields or explore new business areas that will be critical to patient care. The NVF team of eight investment professionals located in Basel, Switzerland and Cambridge, MA brings together extensive experience in pharmaceutical R&D and venture capital. http://www.venturefund.novartis.com

About NeoMed

NeoMed Management is an international investment firm, exclusively focusing on the healthcare and life science industry. Founded in 1996, NeoMed has established four funds, with total committed capital exceeding $200 million. NeoMed invests in young companies with outstanding growth prospects. Portfolio companies typically develop innovative products addressing inadequately served medical needs. To date NeoMed has backed more than 30 companies in the USA and Europe, including Scandinavia, Switzerland, Germany and the UK. NeoMed has offices in Norway, Switzerland and the US. http://www.neomed.net

About Initiative Capital Romandie (ICR)

ICR is a Swiss venture capital fund, managed by DEFI Gestion SA, a Lausanne based private equity fund advisor. ICR has been founded in 2006 by four partners (Retraites Populaires Vie, Banque Cantonale Vaudoise, Centre Patronal and Etablissement Cantonal d'Assurance). ICR supports high-tech starts-ups based in the French part of Switzerland. ( http://www.defigestion.ch)

For more information on Diagnoplex, please visit http://www.diagnoplex.com

Source: Diagnoplex