NimbleGen Systems, Inc. Cofounder Launches Invenra, A Competitor For Sutro Biopharma

Published: Nov 05, 2014

NimbleGen Systems, Inc. Cofounder Launches Invenra, A Competitor For Sutro Biopharma

November 5, 2014

By Krystle Vermes, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Wisconsin-based Invenra, a biotechnology company that recently raised $4 million from angel investors, is officially ready to make its debut in the therapeutic antibody industry.

Invenra says it has figured out some advances to cell-free expression of antibodies, which are complicated proteins to make. This gives them a competitive edge against companies like Sutro Pharma, which is also in the antibody production market, according to Xconomy.

Invenra CEO Roland Green was the cofounder of NimbleGen Systems, a DNA microarray maker that was purchased by Roche back in 2007. Green claims that he wants to apply his “high-throughput mentality” from NimbleGen into a protein-based system.

Invenra is focused on developing the next generation of best-in-class biologics with an emphasis on antibodies. Its technology enables the screening of several full-length antibodies in phenotypic assays.

The Acquisition of NimbleGen
In 2007, Roche acquired NimbleGen in an attempt to enter the market of analyzing DNA microarrays in an effort to understand genetic causes of disease. As a result, Roche paid NimbleGen’s shareholders approximately $272 million. The announcement of the deal was made on June 19, and it closed around the third quarter of 2007.

"This acquisition represents a further milestone in our strategy to strengthen our position as a major player and complete solution provider in the genomics research market by extending our activities into the microarray segment," said Severin Schwan, CEO at Roche Diagnostics, at the time of the announcement. "The Array Systems from NimbleGen are highly synergistic and will complement the existing Roche portfolio of innovative genomic research tools such as the LightCycler qPCR systems and the high-throughput Sequencing Systems from the recently acquired company 454 Life Sciences."

As a result of the acquisition, NimbleGen became a fully integrated part of Roche Applied Science, a business area of the Diagnostic Division of Roche.

"Roche is one of the premiere life science companies, and NimbleGen is delighted to become part of the exciting story of growth and innovation occurring at Roche," said Stan Rose, CEO of NimbleGen. "Joining Roche will accelerate and broaden NimbleGen's opportunities with our high density DNA microarray business as well as with new technologies focused on targeted DNA sequencing."

NimbleGen, which was privately held and based in Wisconsin, focused on manufacturing and supplying a proprietary suite of DNA microarrays, instruments and services.

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