Funding Round Two for T2 and Its Pint-Sized Diagnostic Devices

10/17/08

T2 Biosystems, a Cambridge, MA-based startup founded by a cadre local life sciences legends, today announced it has closed a $10.8 million Series B financing round. Flagship Ventures, Polaris Venture Partners, Flybridge Capital Partners, Partners Healthcare, and In-Q-Tel provided the new cash; the first three also participated in T2′s initial $5.5 million financing in 2006.

T2 will use the new funding to support the development of its small, portable diagnostics devices that will allow a wide range of medical tests to be performed quickly and cheaply at the “point of care”—in ambulances, on the battlefield, in rural doctors’ offices, and so forth—as well as in traditional medical labs. The system uses polymer-coated, iron-cored nanoparticles as a magnetic dye; these nanoparticles can be thrown directly into a sample of blood or urine, where they stick to specific cells or molecules and cluster together as a result. A pint-sized magnetic resonance-based reading device can detect the clumping on the spot.

T2 CEO John McDonough told me back in February that though the company was small (just 13 people at the time) and being careful about staying focused, the technology was ripe for partnerships focused on water testing, toxin detection, illegal drug detection, and the like. And today he told me via e-mail about the first of such partnerships: “In addition to In-Q-Tel’s investment in our Series B round of financing, we have also entered into a Technology Development agreement with them. IQT engages with technology companies to identify, adapt, and deliver innovative technology solutions to the CIA, and the broader U.S. Intelligence Community. T2 is excited about the opportunity to work with IQT in any manner that has the potential to enhance the security interests of the country.” T2 has also grown to 20 people, and plans to add a few more over the next six to nine months, McDonough said. The startup expects to have a beta version of its diagnostic device ready in the second half of next year.

As I’ve mentioned before, T2 is the brainchild of some of the brainiest folks in town, including Tyler Jacks, the director of MIT’s Center for Cancer Research; Ralph Weissleder, head of MGH’s Center for Molecular Imaging Research; and legendary inventor and startup founder Robert Langer, an institute professor at MIT. McDonough joined the company in January, fresh off having helped Marlborough, MA’s Cytyc get itself acquired by Bedford, MA’s Hologic (NASDAQ: HOLX) for an eye popping $6.2 billion. And today the company announced that Cytyc founder Stanley Lapidus has joined its board of directors. We’ll be interested to see what this crew can cook up in the months to come.

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