RainDance Secures $20M, and a Believer in Myriad Genetics

4/29/13Follow @benthefidler

RainDance Technologies always thought its droplet technology platform had the potential to attract the powerhouses of the world of genomic research. Three years after introducing its first commercial product, it has now found the big-name ally with a big sales force to support that thesis—Myriad Genetics (NASDAQ: MYGN).

The Lexington, MA-based company today not only secured a $20 million Series E financing from its existing venture investors, but also added Myriad—an entity which has a 75 percent market share of all the breast and ovarian cancer testing in the U.S.—to its stable of stockholders. Myriad participated in the round, which included previous RainDance backers Mohr Davidow Ventures, Quaker BioVentures, Alloy Ventures, Acadia Woods Partners and Sectoral Asset Management. And Myriad has done so just two weeks after signing a multi-year supply deal to use RainDance’s technology to enhance its product that takes deep-dive looks at certain regions of the genome, to find hereditary abnormalities that lead to cancer. RainDance will provide Myriad with its ThunderStorm systems, reagents, gene panels, and consumable chemicals.

“It’s a transformational deal for us,” says Roopom Banerjee, RainDance’s CEO, of Myriad’s involvement. “The fact that they selected us speaks volumes to the validation of our technology.”

That technology is a system through which RainDance first separates patient samples that come in the form of blood or urine, and breaks them down into millions of micro-droplets, each containing a DNA sample. It then merges each droplet with another containing a reagent, essentially creating millions of ultra-tiny test tubes for researchers to use to perform diagnostic tests. RainDance’s technology can generate, for example, 20 million to 100 million droplets out of a single milliliter of blood, according to Banerjee.

Roopom Banerjee, CEO of RainDance Technologies

Samples are precious in the diagnostics world, and that efficiency caught the eye of Myriad. While the supply agreement and financing deal appear to give Myriad on the inside track towards a buyout of RainDance, Banerjee insists that Myriad hasn’t secured any acquisition-related rights or liens of any kind on the company’s technology.

“RainDance will continue to be an independent company,” he says. “We are free and clear to work with any customer in any field as we continue to grow our business.”

That isn’t to say, of course, that RainDance or its investors, who have now poured about $100 million into the company since … Next Page »

Ben Fidler is Xconomy's Deputy Biotechnology Editor. You can e-mail him at bfidler@xconomy.com Follow @benthefidler

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