On-Q-ity Raises $5M, Names GSK Vet as CEO

2/15/12Follow @arleneweintraub

Today Waltham, MA-based diagnostics maker On-Q-ity announced it has raised $5 million in a Series B funding round and named Michael Stocum president and CEO. Stocum, who is replacing On-Q-ity founder Mara Aspinall, is the president and founder of consulting firm Personalized Medicine Partners, based in Research Triangle Park, NC, and previously worked in research and development at GlaxoSmithKline. Aspinall left On-Q-ity last summer to take a position as president of Roche unit Ventana Medical Systems.

On-Q-ity specializes in capturing and characterizing circulating tumor cells. The company is using its technology to design tools to help physicians make better decisions about which cancer treatments to use for which patients. On-Q-ity is also discovering its own biomarkers that indicate, for example, resistance to cancer treatments like chemotherapy. In an interview with Xconomy, Stocum says the company is in active discussions with partners, which will help drive its decisions about which cancer types to focus on and what the best market opportunities for its technology will be.

Stocum says he was attracted to the opportunity to lead On-Q-ity because of its potential to take a leadership role in the emerging diagnostics industry. “One of the challenges we’ve always faced is that the products oncologists use to reduce suffering and extend life often fail because we don’t have real-time, molecular information about what’s happening with the patients,” he says. “On-Q-ity is getting to the point where we can interrogate a patient’s disease by looking at circulating tumor cells, protein markers, and other information that will help us best manage that patient.”

Stocum says he first began working with On-Q-ity last year, when the company brought him on as a consultant. During his time at Glaxo, Stocum managed alliances with biomarker companies and directed the drug giant’s biomarker business strategy in oncology. “I’ve been working in the field of integrating biomarkers and therapeutics for 17 years,” Stocum says. “On-Q-ity was just entering the stage of needing to establish partnerships to move forward.”

On-Q-ity’s Series B was led by its existing investors, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Atlas Venture, and Physic Ventures. The company previously raised $26 million in a Series A round in late 2009. Stocum says the company will use the funding to drive both its internal research efforts and external partnering activities.

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